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Does asthma get worse when you have a cold or the flu?

Dr Louisa Draper

"If you have any concerns about your asthma symptoms, speak to your doctor or asthma nurse for advice. Asthma is a common but serious condition. If left untreated or uncontrolled, it can be dangerous."

Dr Louisa Draper

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If you have asthma, having a cold or flu can worsen your symptoms. This is because the viruses can affect your airways and throat. A cold or flu won’t make your asthma worse in the long run, but it might make your symptoms worse in the short-term.

Cold and flu viruses are common triggers for people with asthma, and they’re difficult to avoid. It’s impossible to avoid catching a cold or flu. However, there are some things you can do to lower your risk of infection.

Some ways to avoid catching a cold or flu are:

  • washing your hands regularly
  • eating a balanced diet
  • exercising regularly
  • getting enough sleep
  • getting a flu jab

If you have a cold or flu, you can lower the risk of the virus affecting your asthma symptoms or causing an asthma attack by using your preventer inhaler every day, or as prescribed. Using your preventer inhaler will help to control the inflammation in your lungs.

You should also follow your asthma action plan. Asthma UK estimates that people who have an asthma action plan are four times less likely to need to go to hospital for an asthma attack. If you don’t have a plan, talk to your doctor or asthma nurse to make one.

If you have any concerns about your asthma symptoms, speak to your doctor or asthma nurse for advice. Asthma is a common but serious condition. If left untreated or uncontrolled, it can be dangerous.