Swine Flu, Asthma and Australia
Some new information has come out on swine flu and asthma recently, and although it affects those in the southern hemisphere more than my part of the world right now, I’m signal-boosting for everyone because it contains some good information.
Namely, the National Asthma Council Australia has issued a flu alert for all the asthma sufferers on the continent. The group was motivated to do so by this New York report showing 80% of swine flu hospitalizations in that city occurred because of underlying medical conditions, with asthma the highest risk factor at 41%.
Those numbers, along with the fact that Australians and other southern hemisphere folks are entering the typical winter cold and flu season – which already carries higher risks for asthmatics even without a pandemic – are prompting the alert, which recommends this preventative step:
Whether you are sick or not – if you have asthma and have not seen your GP in the last six months it is important you make an immediate appointment with your doctor to check the functioning and health of your lungs. Check with your GP that you are prescribed the right treatment, that you can use your inhaler correctly and that your current lung function is good. If this is all in order and you have a written asthma action plan that will guide you through any deterioration, you should be confident that you are prepared for a potentially difficult winter flu season,” said Associate Professor Matthew Peters, Respiratory Physician, Head of Respiratory Medicine at Concord Hospital, Sydney. – National Asthma Council Australia
That strikes me as excellent advice for those of us in the middle of summer, too. The time to check up on my daughter’s lung function and fine hone her maintenance and action plans is now, in June, before we enter the fall cold and flu season in the middle of a pandemic. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m making an appointment for AG sooner rather than later.