Australians with asthma are being warned to act as the winter cold and flu season kicks in to avoid becoming a statistic.
Around 40,000 Australians are hospitalised and 400 die each year from asthma, with a spike in hospital admissions during winter for people of all ages – from preschoolers through to the elderly.
National Asthma Council Australia Chair Dr Jonathan Burdon AM urged a pro-active approach to managing asthma for the estimated 2.5 million Australians with the condition.
“During winter, respiratory tract infections typically increase. Those with asthma need to take positive steps to manage their asthma, and help prevent a flare-up turning into something more serious.
“The common cold is behind 4 out of 5 bad asthma flare-ups or attacks in winter. If you have asthma you should see your doctor for an asthma check-up before the cold and flu season sets in to make sure your asthma medications and action plan are up to date.
“Taking your prescribed preventer medicine will help keep your lungs at their best during winter. People with asthma should also have an annual flu vaccination – you can do this while you are at your GP or you can now get a flu shot at most pharmacies,” said Dr. Burdon.
Research has found that when people with asthma have an action plan and are engaged in their asthma management, they have fewer asthma flare-ups, take fewer days off work or school and reduce their reliever medication use. Most importantly, action plans help avoid emergency visits to the hospital and provide peace of mind for people with asthma and their families.
Dr. Burdon said that correct inhaler technique was another important factor in managing asthma. With up to 9 out of 10 people using their inhaler incorrectly, the National Asthma Council Australia has also recently expanded its online “How to” video library of how to use all the main asthma and COPD inhalers.
“People with asthma need to ensure that they take their prescribed medicines, follow their written Asthma Action Plan and use their inhalers correctly.
“Two new videos have been added showing how to use the inhaler for the preventer flutiform, with and without a spacer.*”
Despite the increased asthma risk, following the National Asthma Council Australia’s winter asthma checklist will help ensure your lungs are in the best possible shape for winter.
Winter asthma check list
* Development of the flutiform How-To videos was supported by an educational grant from Mundipharma.
Information and tools to help manage your asthma, including the “How-to” videos, are available at the National Asthma Council Australia website: www.nationalasthma.org.au
For further information, or to arrange an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:
The Reputation Group
Tel: 03 96457755