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Flu hits hard for asthma sufferers

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Image of person with asthma using inhaler.
Contracting the flu can enhance the already problematic symptoms of asthma.

For people suffering from asthma, winter can be an uncomfortable time as cold air is a trigger for asthma flare-ups. Winter also brings the added threat of catching the flu – and for asthma sufferers, the flu can hit hard.

Today is World Asthma Day, and while all Queenslanders are encouraged to have their flu vaccination, it is particularly important for those suffering from respiratory diseases like asthma.

Contracting the flu can enhance the already problematic symptoms of asthma including wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and tightness in the chest. The flu can make these symptoms significantly worse and if not treated properly, these symptoms can cause hospitalisation.

The flu vaccine is free for all people aged 6 months or older with certain medical conditions that can lead to complications from influenza, including severe asthma.

But remember, it generally takes 10 to 14 days to be fully protected after vaccination and the vaccination only protects against the flu strains in the vaccine itself, so it won’t stop a person from getting a different strain or a severe cold.

So practice good hygiene both before and after you’ve had a flu vaccination.

Queenslanders who suffer from asthma are encouraged to keep warm during the winter months, avoid contact with anyone who is sick, wash hands regularly, and stay home from work and public places if you have flu-like symptoms.

For those eligible for the funded vaccine, arrange an appointment with your doctor or immunisation provider. Those who are not eligible for the funded vaccine are strongly encouraged to consider vaccination, which can be obtained from your doctor, immunisation provider or pharmacist.

Last updated: 23 August 2017