Asthma & Influenza

Apr 04, 2016

Flu Vaccination Day_7th April 2016PrintPrint

Asthma Australia is urging people to get vaccinated in time for flu season to prevent dangerous asthma flare-ups and time spent in hospital.

Reported flu cases rose forty-eight percent last year*, significantly elevating the risk for people with asthma.

Influenza is one of the most common triggers for asthma, and makes asthma symptoms of breathlessness, coughing and wheezing much worse.

National Home Doctor Service says patients with asthma are one of the largest special interest groups who need to see a doctor after hours, particularly during winter.

For the first time this year, the influenza vaccine will be widely available in pharmacies as well as General Practice, helping to prevent the spread of influenza.

Asthma Australia’s CEO, Mark Brooke said:

“For people with asthma, flu can be very serious, and for many can mean a visit to the emergency department or a stay in hospital. We are urging people with asthma and their families to get vaccinated with the QIV vaccine to give them the best protection when flu season strikes.”

“Among adults, emergency department presentations and hospitalisation rates for asthma are highest during the winter months, which probably reflects the impact of the rise in respiratory infections during winter and early spring. Respiratory infections including flu are commonly listed as an associated diagnosis among people of all ages admitted to hospital for asthma,” said Dr Umberto Russo, General Manager, Clinical Governance at National Home Doctor Service.

Flu vaccines can be given from six months of age, and those with a diagnosis of severe asthma can receive the vaccine free of charge under the National Immunisation Program.

“For pregnant women with Asthma, the flu vaccine can be safely given during any stage of pregnancy and provides ongoing protection to a newborn baby for their first six months of life,” noted Dr Russo.

People with asthma can also access support and information about asthma and the flu at www.asthmaaustralia.org.au or by calling 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).