Asthma is a lung disease, and chronic inflammation of the airways is what causes it. It is very common for children to suffer from asthma at early age. However, the adults can have it as well and it can come as a consequence of allergies or other lung diseases. There are various triggers that can cause asthma attacks: allergens, chemicals, dust and dust mites, pet hair, air pollution, cigarette smoke and so on.
However, it is not just these everyday triggers that can cause asthma attacks. Flu and cold season brings a lot of discomfort – and for those with asthma it can bring additional problems and more frequent attacks. This is why it is important to stay healthy and safe during flu season.
How does flu affect people with asthma?
First of all, it is important to know that if you have asthma, this doesn’t mean you are more likely to get the flu. The risk depends on other factors, such as the strength of your immune system and the amount of exposure to the virus. However, the problem is that common flu is more serious for people who have asthma and it causes some problems which are not common for the people without asthma.
Since asthma is a chronic disease, it means that your airways are constantly oversensitive and swollen. This means that the flu can irritate them further and cause further inflammation and complications. People with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia if they get the flu than people who do not have asthma. Naturally, this brings additional complications, requires longer treatment and leaves consequences on the lungs.
How to stay safe?
First and foremost, if you have asthma, you need to get a flu vaccine. This is the most efficient way to stay safe from the flu and reduce the risk of getting infected. Everyone from 6 months and older can and should get the vaccine. You can get it on various locations, such as private and state clinics, college health centers and pharmacies. Lately it has become possible to get the vaccine in health centers in schools and workplaces. The vaccine is available even if you don’t have your regular doctor or nurse, so there is really no excuse not to take it.
Other than vaccine, there are additional ways to stay protected. Even if you get the vaccine, you should still make sure to prevent the contact with flu virus. Avoid large groups of people and public transport during the flu season. If it is not possible, you can wear a protective mask when you are in a large crowd. Wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently, and do not touch your nose or mouth with dirty hands. You can always have a tube of antibacterial gel with you, so you can disinfect your hand even when there are no soap and water available.
Be responsible to yourself and protect your health. It only takes a few extra measures to keep you safe and healthy throughout the whole season, and to prevent the additional asthma attacks and complications.