Asthmatics Warned They Play “Russian Roulette” by Not Getting Flu Jab

5.4 million UK asthmatic are at risk this winter and may be playing “Russian Roulette” with their health, warn charity Asthma UK.

They fear that failing to get free flu jab could leave those with asthma at risk of suffering a potentially fatal asthma attack.

Currently, every 10 seconds, someone in the UK has a fatal asthma attack and with the onset of winter quickly looming, clearly there is an increased risk to those with asthma.

The majority of asthmatics often report that colder weather makes their asthma symptoms much worse, with Asthma UK stating that over 80% of asthma patients claim that cold and flu are the main cause for attacks.

Symptoms of asthma include coughing, breathlessness, wheezing and feeling tight chested. However, the flu virus could increase inflammation within the airways and result in someone with asthma struggling to breathe and wheezing even more so than usual.

Although most asthmatics are eligible to receive the free-of-charge flu jab free on the NHS due to being considered a vulnerable group, almost one in four people with asthma have no intentions of going for their jab in anticipation of the colder weather.

A survey of 1,010 adults with asthma found that 23% are not planning to go for their flu vaccination. Of these people, 31% noted concerns about the jab’s side-effects, 27% didn’t think it would be of benefit, whilst 45% didn’t think they needed it as their asthma wasn’t a bother to them.

Moreover, 17% said they had an aversion to injections and 6% noted there are long waiting times at their GP surgery.

“People with asthma who are shunning the flu jab could be playing Russian Roulette with their life,” warned Asthma UK’s Clinical Lead and practising GP, Dr Andy Whittamore.

“The majority of people with asthma say colds and flu are their top trigger so it makes sense for them to try and protect themselves by getting the flu jab.

“Unfortunately, there are lots of myths about the flu jab not working, causing side effects or causing flu, and our research shows this is preventing people from getting it.

“In fact, the vaccine can’t give you flu, the side effects are minimal and it could save people’s lives by preventing a life-threatening asthma attack.

“We are urging people to get the facts about flu so they can make an informed decision by visiting asthma.org.uk/flu.”

The flu jab is free to all asthma patients that have been using preventative asthma medication, have needed a course of oral or systemic steroids, or have previously required hospital treatment because of their condition.

It can take anywhere up to 2 weeks for the flu jab to become affective, and Asthma UK stress it is important to get the jab as soon as possible.

Those with asthma should remember it is vital to use the preventer inhaler as prescribed and to carry the reliever inhaler wherever they go.

The following video explains the huge importance and benefits of the flu jab:

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