Respiratory infections are the most common causes of exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The influenza vaccinations are recommended in prophylaxis of respiratory infections. The aim of our study was to evaluate the influence of influenza vaccinations on asthma or COPD. 178 patients (55.1% with asthma, 44.9% with COPD) of Out-patient Clinic of Department of Internal Diseases, Pulmonology and Allergology of Warsaw Medical University filled the questionnaires. In 2003/2004 season 43.3% (77) of all were vaccinated against influenza. The frequency of vaccinations was significantly higher in patients >65 years of age 58.4% (45) than in younger ones [41.6% (32)]. The number of exacerbations decreased more than twice comparing the time before and after immunization: 1.7+/-1.5 and 3.9+/-2.4 per year respectively (p<0.00001).
The influenza vaccinations is a useful method of decreasing the number of exacerbations in patients with asthma and COPD. The elder patients are vacacinated more often than younger ones. The frequency of vaccinations among patients with asthma and COPD is still not satisfactory.