How is asthma affected by flu?

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Even if their asthma is minor or their symptoms are well controlled by medication, people with asthma are at a higher risk of getting serious flu complications. Asthmatics may experience swollen and sensitive airways, and the flu may trigger additional inflammation of the airways and lungs. Asthma attacks and asthma complications can be triggered by flu viruses.

Health risk

Asthma is frequently caused by a strong immune response to a chemical in the lungs. Although there is no clear link between getting the flu and developing asthma, experiencing viral respiratory infections, and wheezing as a kid is a risk factor for developing or worsening asthma. 
The combination of the flu and asthma, including bronchoconstriction and increased mucus production, taxes the immune system and further affects already compromised lung function. This can cause a delay in recovery as well as an increased risk of bronchitis or pneumonia as well as hospitalisation.

People with moderate to severe asthma may be more vulnerable to COVID-19, which might harm the lungs and trigger an asthma attack.

What to do if you have a cold or the flu

Despite your best efforts to be healthy, the odd cold or flu is unavoidable, especially among youngsters. These steps may be useful: 

· Contact your doctor if your asthma symptoms worsen while you're unwell. If you have the flu, using an antiviral medicine or another prescription drug as soon as possible may help you recover faster. 

· Stick to your asthma action plan. Adjust your medication as prescribed by your written asthma action plan if you observe warning symptoms of an asthma attack, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. If you don't already have an asthma action plan, consult with your doctor about creating one. 

· Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Use over-the-counter cold or flu medications with your doctor's approval to treat your symptoms. These treatments will not only help you recover quicker from a cold or flu, but they will make you feel better in the meantime.

· Check your airflow. Use a peak flow metre to track how well your lungs perform daily. Every day take your readings at the same time. Adjust your medicine as instructed by your doctor if you notice a drop in your peak flow rate. 

· See a doctor right away if you are experiencing severe symptoms. Seek medical attention if you have severe breathing problems or a sore throat. If you have any indications or symptoms of pneumonia, such as a high fever, chills, sweats, severe discomfort while taking deep breaths, or a cough that produces coloured phlegm, get immediate treatment.

Fun Fact:

Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalised with flu. A study published in 2011 in the journal Paediatrics found that 32% of children hospitalized for seasonal flu over a six-year period had asthma. Children with asthma also represented 44% of all paediatric hospitalisations for H1N1 virus during the 2009 pandemic.