Harsh flu season for asthmatics

ASTHMA sufferers are being warned of an extra harsh flu season, despite reports few Coffs Coast locals have caught a chill, let alone a cold, so far this winter.

The National Asthma Council Australia (NACA) yesterday said 58 per cent of adult sufferers had experienced asthma attacks in the first few weeks of winter, while half had not yet received the flu vaccination.

However, locally it seems we’re not doing too badly.

Dr Ian Arthur from the Toormina Medical Centre said he was yet to see much in the way of cases of flu this season.

“Usually a good measure of things is at the after hours clinic and from my information, it’s been relatively quiet over there this year,” Dr Arthur said.

“Although I would say we haven’t hit peak season yet either – that’s usually around July/August. But for now, I would say it’s been better than usual.”

He said GPs still urged all eligible people to have their flu shots.

“Of course it’s a good idea for people over 65 and with chronic respiratory problems to have their flu vaccination,” he said.

NACA director, Associate Professor Peter Wark, said in a statement yesterday the new review suggested asthma sufferers were being hit hard by the flu.

“It is imperative anyone with asthma visits their GP within the next seven to 10 days for a lung health check, including flu vaccination, before the depth of winter hits,” he said.

“It is critical for asthma sufferers to understand they are at risk of serious complications from influenza such as pneumonia which usually requires hospitalisation,” Prof Wark said.

Last winter, 70 per cent of asthma suffers had a cold or flu. Of these, 62 per cent took more than a week to recover. For more information, visit www.nationalasthma.org.au.

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