Look After Your Asthma This Cold and Flu Season

June 06, 2024

Colds and flu can be more serious for people with asthma, even if your asthma is mild and usually well controlled with your regular inhalers. In fact, four out of five bad asthma attacks are linked to the common cold.

Here at MedAdvisor, we are passionate about helping people make better decisions about their health every day. So, let's look at how to manage your asthma this cold and flu season, from avoiding colds and flu to understanding your inhalers and knowing what to do if you become unwell.

How Can You Avoid Getting Colds and Flu?

It can be difficult to avoid viruses altogether. But you can follow a few simple steps to reduce your risk of catching a cold or flu this winter.

  • Hand washing – especially before you eat or touch your face, eyes or nose
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow
  • Keeping your distance from people with colds until they are fully recovered
  • Avoiding crowded spaces
  • Booking an appointment for your flu shot

Understand Your Asthma Inhalers

There is no cure for asthma; it is a chronic illness that requires lifelong medication.  But the right medication should control your symptoms, prevent asthma attacks, and improve the function of your lungs.  Most asthma medication comes in inhalers and is taken by breathing in through your mouth.   Asthma inhalers are divided into two main groups:

  • Preventers
Think of these as your long-term asthma medication.  They prevent you from becoming unwell and help keep your asthma under control.

Having a preventer and taking it regularly will ensure that if you get a cold or flu, your airways and lungs are prepped and ready to deal with it.

  • Relievers

Think of these as your emergency asthma medications.  They provide quick relief when you are unwell and ensure you can breathe.

During this cold and flu season, keep a preventer or two on hand—one by your bed and one in your car. That way, if you are a bit breathless with a cold or the flu, you have instant relief at hand.

How to Use Your Asthma Inhaler

A good inhaler technique is the best way to ensure your asthma medication gets from your mouth, down your airways, and into your lungs. There are many different types of inhalers, so it’s essential that you know how to use your prescribed inhaler correctly.

Need a recap on how to use your inhaler to ensure your lungs are getting the support they need this winter?  Book an appointment with your pharmacist or healthcare provider to review your inhaler technique via the MedAdvisor App, or click here for at-home tutorials.

Using a Spacer

A spacer is a tube-like chamber that connects to your mouth at one end and your inhaler at the other end. It can be a great way to take your inhalers, increasing the amount of medication that gets from your mouth to your lungs.

Want to get the most out of your inhalers and protect your lungs this cold and flu season? Next time you re-fill your inhaler script, ask your pharmacist for a spacer and click here for video tips on how to use your inhaler with a spacer.

The Importance of Having an Asthma Action Plan

If you get a cold or flu, you may find that your regular asthma medications fail to keep your asthma under control.   Telltale signs that this could be the case are:

In this situation, you may need additional medications, such as steroids or antibiotics, to help get your airways back on track. Having an asthma action plan arms you with a clear, written plan, broken down into colour-coded zones, that will help you recognise when your asthma is worsening and what to do next. 

If your symptoms include any of the following, you are in the “red zone” for your asthma action plan - please see a healthcare provider immediately.

Need an asthma action plan? Book an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Protect Your Airways This Winter

With cold and flu season in full swing and winter just a few days away, now is the time to ensure you are armed and ready to protect your airways and manage your asthma.
So, book your flu shot, fill your prescriptions, recap your inhaler technique, and book an appointment with your healthcare provider to get an asthma action plan


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