Emma Rubach, Head of Health Advice at Asthma UK, says:
“Flu season can be a scary time for thousands of people with asthma as the virus can trigger life-threatening asthma attacks and put people in hospital with complications like pneumonia. These latest figures from Public Health England might worry many people with asthma, but there are two important things they can do to help protect themselves.
“Firstly, make sure you or your child has had the flu vaccine – you can speak with your GP surgery or pharmacist about getting this done for free if you have asthma.
“Secondly, it’s vital to keep taking your asthma medicines as prescribed so that if you do get flu, it’s less likely to trigger an asthma attack. Always carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you and speak with your GP or asthma nurse if you feel your asthma symptoms are getting worse due to a cold or flu.
“We can answer questions about the vaccine and give advice on managing your asthma if you do get flu through our nurse-led Helpline and on our website: www.asthma.org.uk/flu”
Notes to Editors:
*Public Health England data published on 19 December 2019 (for week 50 2019/20) shows there was a rate of 6.85 hospitalisations for laboratory confirmed influenza per 100,000 population. It compares to 5.13 per 100,000 in the previous week. Data for week 50 in 2018/19 shows there was 0.82 hospitalisations per 100,000.