Flu Shots May Not Help Asthma

Published Online: Friday, October 1, 2004

Researchers evaluated 800 children with asthma, half of whom received flu shots while the other half did not, and found that the group who received the flu shots had a significantly higher risk of asthma-related visits to a clinic or emergency department. It was previously thought that flu vaccinations would lessen the exacerbation of asthma in children?in fact, flu shots are recommended for asthmatic children. Surprised researchers continue to seek explanations for these results, theorizing that perhaps children with more severe asthma are more likely to receive flu vaccinations, which would lead to a higher incidence of clinical visits in this group. Dr. Cynthia Christy of Rochester General Hospital concluded, "While this disturbing result does not show harm from the influenza vaccine, it is suggestive enough to warrant future study. It appears that a long-term, prospective controlled trial may be needed." The full study appears in the August 2004 issue of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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