Asthma UK issues health advice as early signs suggest flu is spreading more quickly than this time last year

Emma Rubach, Head of Health Advice at Asthma UK, says:

“Flu is a horrible illness that for some people might make them feel unwell, stop them from going to school or work, or even put them in bed for days. However, for those with asthma it can be even more risky as it can trigger life-threatening asthma attacks, and lead to complications such as pneumonia.

“There are signs that the flu is spreading more quickly than this time last year, meaning more people could be affected than last time.*

“Asthma UK wants to make sure everyone with asthma has the opportunity 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 5 December 2019 (for week 48 2019/20) shows there was a rate of 4.31 hospitalisations for laboratory confirmed influenza per 100,000 population. It compares to 2.85 per 100,000 in the previous week. Data for week 48 in 2018/19 shows there was 0.49 hospitalisations per 100,000.