By Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s flu shot season and people with allergies need to pay attention.

For instance, if you have asthma and allergies, you will definitely need a flu shot.

“This is peak asthma season,” Dr. Deborah Gentile, an allergy specialist at Allegheny General Hospital, said. “We’re getting a lot of calls each day about flu vaccine.”

Infections can trigger an attack.

“They would start to have coughing, wheezing, chest discomfort, may need to see their doctor acutely or even go to the emergency room and be admitted,” Dr. Gentile continued.

And if you’re allergic to eggs — you may have heard you shouldn’t get a flu shot, because the vaccine is manufactured using eggs, but studies show if your allergy is mild, you are likely to tolerate it just fine.

“Basically if you have a mild allergy, just a skin reaction, your primary care physician should be able to give it,” Dr. Gentile said.

But if you’ve ever had a severe reaction to eggs, with your throat swelling and shortness of breath, you will want to see an allergist for help.

“We typically do a protocol with graded doses,” she explained.

With even people allergic to eggs able to get a flu shot, only babies under six months are among the few who can’t. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that just about everyone else should.

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