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Asthma and the flu vaccination

Get your flu shotMany of us dread the coming of winter with the chilly evenings and inevitable bouts of colds and flu. While unpleasant for most of us, influenza can be very serious for people with asthma and contributes to an increase in the number of asthma related hospitalisations in winter.

Influenza and the community

Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that is responsible for major outbreaks of respiratory illness. In Australia, influenza on average causes 3,500 deaths, around 18,000 hospitalisations and 300,000 GP visits each year.1

Influenza and asthma

People with asthma are at higher risk of experiencing severe complications following the influenza virus. Such complications include:

  • More severe asthma flare-ups
  • Pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections
  • Days lost from work and school
  • Hospitalisation and death

Our flu and you survey results

In March we surveyed more than 500 people with asthma and their carers to better understand their personal experiences with asthma and how it is affected during the flu season.

Here’s a snap shot of what we learnt:

Asthma and Flu Infographic

Asthma and the flu vaccination

Annual vaccination is the single most effective way to protect against influenza infection. As Australia’s peak asthma body, we strongly advise that all people with asthma and their families are vaccinated for maximum protection against influenza. This will protect them and prevent the spread of the virus to those most at risk.

Vaccination in mid-April is recommended to offer maximum protection throughout the flu season. The flu vaccine is recommended from 6 months of age, however any parents who have concerns should talk to their doctor.

The National Immunisation Program also provides free vaccination to at risk groups. Talk to your pharmacist or GP to see if you are eligible.

For more information and support with asthma visit www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/asthma-and-flu or call the 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462).

1 http://www.isg.org.au/index.php/clinical-information/influenza-fast-facts-/

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