Media Releases

It’s not too late to fight winter flu – especially if you have asthma

13 Jun 2024

The National Asthma Council Australia (NAC) said today that the winter flu season has yet to peak and strongly encouraged Australians with asthma and allergies to make sure they are up to date with vaccinations, as influenza, COVID-19 and RSV are all viruses that affect the respiratory tract.

The NAC also released a winter checklist that covers key information for the one in nine Australians living with asthma, including important updates on Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and vaccinations.

Dr Joel Ten, a GP and National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, said between 60 to 70 percent of asthma attacks are due to viral infections such as the common cold or influenza.

“People who have asthma and allergies tend to be hit hard from viral infections so it is important to get vaccines as soon as you can and don’t think it is too late as winter has started,” he said.

Dr Ten said that the asthma winter checklist has important updates for at-risk groups including children with asthma, as well as people aged over 60 years with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are also particularly vulnerable to RSV.

“Adults over 60 years of age have higher rates of a serious complications with RSV infection and the National Asthma Council Australia encourages people with asthma aged over 60 years to chat to their GP about the newly approved RSV vaccine that is now available on private script.

“Children with asthma who are aged between six months and five years are eligible for a free flu vaccine and parents can talk to their GP or paediatrician about an injected antibody (not a vaccine) which protects infants against RSV for at least five months after a single dose and is available for free in some states.

“Vaccinations are also recommended to minimise the impacts of other respiratory illnesses that can exacerbate asthma such as pneumonia, whooping cough and COVID-19,” he said.

Dr Ten said winter can also be a good time to schedule an annual asthma review with your GP to discuss any symptoms such as night time cough and how often you need to use your inhaler reliever (puffer).

“Now is a good time of year to check the health of your lungs and assess if you need to make any changes to your asthma medications and update your written asthma action plan so you stay well over winter.

“It can also be a great opportunity to make sure you or any members of your family with asthma have good day-to-day asthma control before the spring seasonal jump in asthma and hay fever, including the increased risk of thunderstorm asthma.

Download the National Asthma Council Australia’s updated winter checklist and more resources at nationalasthma.org.au including how-to video tutorials demonstrating the proper use of asthma medications.

For further information or an interview with a NAC spokesperson
please contact: Donna Le Page, Le Page PR
Mobile: 0412 797 937 Email[email protected]


The National Asthma Council Australia is collaboration of four member bodies (APNA, ASCIA, PSA and RACGP) and the national trusted authority for asthma knowledge. We set and disseminate the standards for asthma care through our responsive and evidence-based asthma guidelines - the Australian Asthma Handbook and resources for primary health care professionals. Our Sensitive Choice program empowers consumers to identify asthma and allergy-aware products and services.

 

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