Media Releases

Asthma warning issued as winter sets in

11 Jul 2017

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

  • Get your lungs checked — see your doctor for an asthma check-up before the cold and flu season sets in. Your doctor can check the health of your lungs and discuss if you need to change your asthma medicines so you stay well over winter.
  • Follow your asthma action plan — together with your doctor, develop or update your personal written asthma action plan with instructions on how to manage your asthma over winter. This could help prevent a mild flare-up from turning into a serious one.
  • Protect yourself — keep warm if cold air triggers your asthma. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick and control germs by washing your hands regularly. If you haven’t already had a flu vaccination ask your doctor about it.
  • Use your medicines wisely — tell your doctor if you have been using your reliever puffer more than two days a week or are having asthma symptoms at night. These are important signs that your lungs may not be in the best condition for winter colds and flu. If you have been prescribed a preventer medicine make sure you use it - even if you feel well.
  • Take extra care if you are over 65 — colds and flu can hit extra hard in seniors with asthma so ask your doctor about flu and/or pneumonia vaccinations.
  • Make sure you're taking your medicines the best way — ask your pharmacist or nurse to check you're using your puffer or inhaler device correctly, or view our “How-to” videos online.

* 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:

Media enquiries

For further information, or to arrange an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact: 

Lelde McCoy
The Reputation Group
Tel: 03 96457755        
Mob: 0417362768
Email: [email protected]