SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2018

BMJ study shows allergic and asthmatic children can benefit from flu vaccine

A recent study from The BMJ shows that the influenza vaccine for children is not likely to cause any allergic reaction if the child has well-controlled asthma, a recurrent wheeze, or an egg allergy.

The study involved 779 people between the ages of 2 and 18. They were divided into groups according to their egg allergy, recurrent wheeze, or asthma. After receiving the vaccine, they were supervised for approximately 30 minutes. Scientists conducted follow-up telephone calls 72 hours later. There were no allergic reactions, though some subjects experienced mild itchiness, a rash, sneezing or runny nose. None were hospitalized.

Statistics show that influenza spreads mainly through young adults and children. In light of this, the U.K. Department of Health has recommended that everyone between the ages of 2 and 16 years old should receive yearly doses of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). This recommendation began in 2012.

LAIV, which is administered in the form of nasal spray, was designed especially for younger people. Unfortunately, there is only limited safety data for young people who have asthma or egg allergies; certain recommendations exclude children who are younger than 5 and have asthma or a recurrent wheeze. If these children are excluded from immunizations, health officials maintain that the influenza is more likely to spread.

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