Is a Flu Shot Necessary if I Have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 09, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is a flu shot necessary if I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)?


Expert Answers

Norman Edelman, MD, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association, is also a professor of preventive medicine, internal medicine, and physiology and biophysics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the school's former Dean of Medicine

Yes, doctors recommend that everyone with COPD get a yearly flu shot. Because your lungs are already compromised, getting the flu can lead to serious complications if you have COPD. You're much more likely to get bronchitis or pneumonia as a result of the flu.

The flu shot is formulated every year to protect against the specific strains of influenza that public health officials predict will be most prevalent. So if you have a flu shot, you're protected against H1N1 and other flu strains that cause serious illness.

A second shot, the pneumococcal vaccine, is also recommended for people with COPD. This vaccine lowers your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia and its complications. Ask your doctor to check whether you've had this vaccine or not, or whether you need a booster shot.