FOR UK HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS ONLY

This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees who are involved in patient care or service provision for influenza immunisation in the UK only – this includes (but is not limited to) GPs, nurses, practice managers, pharmacists, and pharmacy counter assistants.

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE

Risks from flu in people with asthma

If you have asthma, you will already know how important it is to avoid any kind of lung infection or breathing problem, which could trigger an asthma attack. And this includes flu.

Having asthma doesn’t make you more likely to catch the flu than anyone else, but it can be more serious if you do1 – even if your asthma symptoms are mild and/or well controlled1.

Having flu and asthma can make your symptoms worse or trigger an asthma attack, as your airways are already swollen and sensitive1. It can also increase your risk of other serious complications such as pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases1.

According to data from the US, having asthma is in fact the most common cause for children to be hospitalised due to flu1 – and it is one of the most common causes for adults to be hospitalised too.1

 

Protecting yourself from flu

The flu viruses predominantly circulate during the winter. So you should think about how to help protect yourself as the flu season approaches, as this is when you are most vulnerable.

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu2, and if you have severe asthma, you are eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS as you are classified as being at high risk of complications3.

Get vaccinated as soon as possible, ideally before the end of November, to ensure you’re protected right through the winter3.

 

Additional recommendations

During winter, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth when you are outdoors – this will protect you against germs, and also warm up cold air before it enters your lungs. You should also continue using your regular preventer medicines as prescribed by your doctor, and keep your blue reliever inhaler with you at all times.

You can also take additional steps, such as avoiding public transport and crowds. However, if you’re unable to avoid public transport, wash your hands after every trip, use the antiseptic hand gel dispensers in the hospital regularly, cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and dispose of any used tissues as quickly as possible.

 

You can get your free flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy, while most pharmacies in the UK also offer private jabs.

*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.

 

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu and People with Asthma, January 2017. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/asthma/ (accessed July 2018)
  2. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet, January 2018. Available online: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal) (accessed July 2018)
  3. Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2018 to 2019. March 2018. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2018)

Adverse Event Reporting

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE