As if the flu weren’t bad enough, did you know that it also can pose an extra danger for those who suffer from asthma? Yes, the flu will not only make you sick; it can trigger an asthma attack, and if this happens, your regular asthma medications may not relieve the asthma symptoms that flare up. On top of that bad news is the fact that when you have the flu, your related asthma symptoms could last for several days or even weeks.
So what should you do?
The first action to take is prevention. A few weeks ago, we wrote about the importance of getting a flu vaccine. We urge you, if you haven’t done so already, to get a flu vaccine now – especially if you’re an asthma sufferer. Also, you should make it a lifelong practice to follow the good health and cleanliness practices that we listed in that same post.
It also might be a good idea to get a pneumonia vaccine. Ask your doctor if this would be right for you.
What if you get the flu anyway? Then It’s Time For Plan B.
- If you have the flu and your asthma begins to flare up, call your doctor right away. He or she might recommend an antiviral medication or other treatment to help minimize symptoms.
- If you notice asthma warning signs (coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath), adjust your medication as recommended in your written asthma action plan. If you don’t have such an action plan, consult with your doctor to work out a plan that’s right for you.
- Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Sure, this advice is given to everyone who is sick, but it is all the more important for you because of the extra risks that your asthma brings into the picture.
- Monitor your lung function, using a peak flow meter. Take your readings at the same time every day to get the truest measure of day-to-day differences. If your peak flow rate drops, adjust your medication according to your doctor’s recommendation.
- If you have severe symptoms, don’t wait for them to go away on their own; seek help immediately. This applies to breathing trouble, a very sore throat, high fever, chills, sweats, colored phlegm, or sharp pain when you take deep breaths.
Information for this article was obtained from The Mayo Clinic.