Atlanta Children with asthma should get flu shots to protect them, but only 3 in 10 do, U.S. health officials said Thursday.
"We were surprised at how low the number was," said Susan Brim of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead author of a study that looked at flu shot data from 2005.
Children with asthma, a chronic lung problem marked by wheezing, coughing and labored breathing, can die from flu complications, such as pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. And they are at higher risk for those problems. Inactivated flu vaccine is recommended for asthmatic children older than 6 months.
The study's findings came from an analysis of a 2005 national survey of the parents of children ages 2 to 17.
Only 29 percent of the asthmatic children had gotten flu shots during the 2004-05 flu season. The lowest vaccination rates were among children ages 5 to 12 who had not had an asthma attack in the previous year.