Asthma Society Calls On People With Asthma To Get Flue Vaccine

Anyone who has ever had the flu virus knows it is far from a pleasant experience. Headaches, high fever, chills, coughing and aching body are just a few of the many debilitating symptoms. The flu virus can be very serious for people with asthma as they are at even greater risk if they pick up the flu virus. The flu virus causes swelling and narrowing of the airways in the lungs, along with excess mucus and these three factors can trigger an asthma attack. For some patients, an asthma attack can prove fatal.


Asthma Society CEO, Sarah O’Connor,
 said: “Every effort should be made to avoid contracting the highly contagious flu virus by members of the public, but especially by people with asthma. People with asthma are at a higher risk of the flu leading to complications for them and possible death, if they have a serious asthma attack. We’ve compiled a list of tips on how to avoid contracting the flu virus, along with a list of what should be done if you get the virus and we are urging everyone with asthma in Tipperary to follow this guidance.”

Top tips to help you avoid catching and spreading the flu virus:

 

  • Get the flu vaccine in September or October
  • Wash your hands frequently with hot soapy water to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the flu – use hand sanitiser where available
  • Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy – this can help boost your immunity and decrease the risks of contracting a flu
  • If you suspect someone has a cold or the flu, keep your distance where possible
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing using a tissue – this tissue should be binned afterwards
  • Try to get into the habit of not touching your face as this is often how the flu is spread
  • Regularly clean hard surfaces such as your phone, keyboard and door handles

 

If you catch the flu, you should:

 

  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor straight away
  • Remember to use your preventative inhaler everyday, which will help control inflammation in your lungs – this will make you less likely to have an asthma attack
  • Improve your inhaler technique to get the best benefit from your medication – watch our Inhaler Technique videos on asthma.ie for best practice
  • Always carry your reliever inhaler with you wherever you go
  • If using your inhaler more than twice a week, contact your GP
  • Rest as much as possible – the flu can be extremely tiring and you will need all your energy to fight it
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water
  • Stay home from work/school when you experience flu symptoms, to rest and also to avoid spreading the virus

 

About Asthma Society of Ireland

 

The Society runs a free Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64. Callers can speak to an asthma specialist nurse to get practical advice about managing their asthma or their child’s asthma.

 

During this period when likelihood of contracting the flu virus can be high, people who have asthma can also get additional advice from Adviceline about how to manage their asthma if they have the flu.

 

For further information about asthma and the Asthma Society’s services, see www.asthma.ie.

 

About Asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of varying severity that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry the air in and out of the lungs.  People with asthma have airways that are extra sensitive to substances (or triggers), which irritate them. Common triggers include cold and flu, cigarette smoke, exercise and allergic responses to pollen, furry or feathery animals or house-dust mites.

 

When the airways come into contact with an asthma trigger, the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower. The lining of the airways swell and produce sticky mucus.  As the airways narrow, it becomes difficult for the air to move in and out. That is why people with asthma wheeze and find breathing difficult.

 

Whilst there is no cure, asthma can be controlled by avoiding triggers and by the use of ‘reliever’ and ‘controller’ medication. Relievers are medicines that people with asthma take immediately when asthma symptoms appear. Controllers help calm the airways and stop them from being so sensitive. Talk to your GP or asthma nurse about which treatment is most suitable for you.  All patients with asthma are also advised to have a tailored asthma action plan, a crucial part of patient self-management, which helps patients control their asthma.

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