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Asthma and flu

Having the flu can trigger asthma symptoms, as well as flu affecting the lungs, causing inflammation and narrowing the airways.

People with asthma are one of the 'at-risk' groups offered the annual flu jab every autumn to help protect them against the latest strains of flu.

Flu jabs are usually arranged through a GP's practice.

What are symptoms of asthma and flu I should be aware of?

Seek medical advice if you experience any of the warning signs of the flu, a viral infection that can trigger asthma. Also, seek medical advice if you have any other symptoms of an asthma attack that cause concern. Symptoms that should cause concern include:

What should I do if I get flu with asthma?

If you have symptoms of flu, seek medical advice over the phone immediately on how to prevent your asthma symptoms from worsening. Your GP may do asthma tests to check your breathing and then explain how to use your asthma treatment and asthma medications to reduce your symptoms of asthma.

Make sure you follow the instructions in your written asthma action plan to self-manage asthma and keep asthma symptoms controlled. In addition, continue to check your peak flow rate to make sure your breathing is in the safe zone.

How can I prevent infections that trigger asthma?

Keeping asthma well controlled is important for staying healthy during the cold weather in winter.

There are also steps you can take to help prevent infections that can trigger asthma symptoms:

  • Good hygiene can decrease your chance of viral infections such as the flu. Remember to wash your hands frequently throughout the day to get rid of germs that linger on your hands.
  • In addition to the annual flu jab, discuss having a pneumococcal vaccination if you’ve not already had one. Pneumococcus is a common cause of bacterial pneumonia, an illness that can be particularly serious for a person with asthma.
  • Sinusitis with asthma can be very serious. Be aware of the symptoms of a sinus infection and report them immediately to your asthma specialist, doctor or asthma nurse to help prevent asthma attacks.
  • Keep breathing equipment clean. Do not let others use your asthma medications or asthma treatment, including your asthma inhaler, asthma nebuliser, and nebuliser tubing and mouthpiece.


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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on May 23, 2017

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