Winter can be a hard time for people with asthma as could weather, coughs, colds and the flu can bring on more symptoms and attacks. The Asthma Foundation Victoria has provided the following information for asthma suffers:
- The common cold is caused by a virus and it is important to try not to cough and sneeze near other people, and to wash hands properly to prevent passing on the infection. The flu is different to the common cold and can be a much more serious viral infection.
- People with asthma are recommended to have an annual influenza vaccination (the flu shot). Preventing the flu protects people with asthma, as those with asthma are often unwell for longer and have a much harder time recovering from the flu.
- Make sure your child’s asthma is well-controlled; this will help them to bounce back quicker from a cough or cold and will help prevent asthma attacks when they are unwell.
- Some medications and herbal remedies that we use for colds and flu can make asthma worse. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about any concerns you may have.
- Antibiotics are not normally prescribed for the common cold, or influenza, as these medications will not help a cold get better. Effective medications may include paracetamol and decongestants; however seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing them for your child.
- Suggested remedies for the flu and the common cold are: rest, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, staying away from cigarette smoke, using steam inhalation, gargling with salty water for a sore throat and seeking medical advice if concerned at any time.
For more information on the common cold, medications and references used in this article please see the Better Health Channel (State Government of Victoria) – www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au and the NPS website – www.nps.org.au.
Contact The Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) or www.asthma.org.au.