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Overview
Children or adults with SMA are at greater risk for pulmonary infection or difficulty breathing or clearing the lungs.1 Therefore, people with SMA are at greater risk for serious complications and infections from influenza (the flu).2 As a result, it is particularly important for people with SMA to get regular vaccinations for the flu and pneumonia in addition to all other normally recommended vaccines.3

If you or your child is immunocompromised, it is important to receive the inactive flu shot rather than an immunization containing a live virus. The nasal spray contains the live flu virus, while the shot only contains inactivated virus, lowering the chance of infection.5

What does it involve?
For maximal protection from infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people get the flu shot by the end of October each year.5 It is important to receive the vaccine as soon as it becomes available because it takes two weeks to become fully effective. Peak flu season occurs between December and February.6

The flu shot is usually administered into the muscle in the arm.

The flu shot can be administered by your primary care doctor or by many pharmacies on a walk-in basis.

Ask your doctor about any other vaccines he or she recommends.

Constraints
If you are allergic to eggs, tell your doctor or pharmacist. There are egg-free versions of the flu vaccine.

Tell your doctor if you have shown hypersensitivity to the flu vaccine in the past, as it may no longer be suitable for you.

Your shoulder or arm may feel sore for a day or two after receiving a flu shot. You may experience itching or swelling at the site of the injection.

Some people experience mild flu-like symptoms for a day or two after receiving a flu shot. Symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, fever, and skin rash.

Sources:

1. Breathing Risks and Care - Cure SMA
2. Flu Season Support - Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)
3. Looking After Your Child who has had a Recent Diagnosis of SMA Type 3 - Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK
4. Vaccination Recommendations for People With a Neuromuscular Disease - SMA News Today
5. Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
6. The Flu Season - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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