Flu, caused by influenza viruses, is an acute viral infection that is easily spread from person to person through dispersed infectious droplets and/or contact with contaminated surface. Most healthy person recover from the flu without requiring medical attention. However, in certain high risk population, flu are more likely to cause serious illness or even leads to death in severe cases.
One such group is people with asthma. In asthmatic patients, influenza infection triggers their sensitive lungs, causing inflammation, swellling and narrowing of airways. This leads to worsening of asthma symptoms and induce asthma attacks (exacerbation). People with asthma are also more likely to develop complications (eg: pneumonia) after they are infected by influenza viruses compared to people without asthma.
Thus, it is important for patients with asthma or their caretaker to take extra precautions to either avoid getting the flu or minimizing its effectsAmong the recommended steps are:
- Getting an annual flu vaccination
- Ensure that asthma is well-controlled and all needed medications are in good condition.
- Wash hand often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or wear protective masks when visiting.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth before making sure that they are clean.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects that may be contaminated by the viruses.
- Visit doctor early for prompt treatment after getting the flu. This is because treatment with antiviral medication work best when given within 48 hours from onset of symptoms.
- Influenza (Seasonal) [Internet]. World Health Organization. 2017 [cited November 2017]. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/
- Flu and People with Asthma | Seasonal Influenza (Flu) | CDC [Internet]. Cdc.gov. 2017 [cited November 2017]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/asthma/index.htm
- Plus G. People with Asthma Are at High Risk for Complications from Flu | AAFA.org [Internet]. Aafa.org. 2017 [cited November 2017]. Available from: http://www.aafa.org/page/influenza-flu-triggers-asthma-complications.aspx