A new research has reported that people who are asthmatic are likely to have worse symptoms of influenza because of weaker immune systems.
Influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. The symptoms usually last between two days and two weeks and they include sore throat, headache, cough and mild fever.
The study, which was led by Ben Nicholas from University of Southampton, exposed lung samples from asthmatics and healthy volunteers to influenza and analysed the results.
“We wanted to look into whether immune system differences explain why asthmatics are more likely to end up in hospital if they get flu than the general population,” Nicholas said.
“This is important, as flu can cause a person’s asthma symptoms to get worse. The samples from healthy people showed a strong immune system-triggering reaction to the flu virus. But in lung samples from asthma patients, this reaction was much weaker.
“We hope these results help researchers better understand why asthmatics are more affected by influenza and help find new treatments for common lung infections, which often make asthma symptoms worse.”
The researchers kept the lung samples intact during the study, which allowed them to study the reactions as it would occur in the body, unlike other techniques where the samples are seperated and cells are grown in a dish.
This study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Further research would be needed to determine if the difference in the immune response is due to the asthma itself or the medications used by asthmatics to control their condition.
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