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As Flu Spreads Here’s What You Can Do

It is pretty busy where I work. Many hospitals in Michigan are filling up. Some are filled to capacity. One of the culprits is the influenza virus. According to the Detroit Free Press, it’s the worst flu in 13 years. So, here’s what you can do to protect yourself.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), asthmatics do not have an increased risk of developing influenza. But, they do have an increased risk for complications if they get influenza. Like any virus, influenza can make your asthma worse. They can also increase your risk of getting pneumonia. In other words, influenza can hit asthmatics hard.

What can you do?

So, it’s especially important for asthmatics to be prepared. Here’s what you can do to prepare yourself for this flu season.

  1. Get Vaccinated. You’ve heard it a hundred times before. Maybe you’ve gotten yours already. If not, it’s probably a good idea to get vaccinated. Sure, there are no guarantees. But, the flu shot is considered safe by most experts. And it’s the best way to prevent yourself from getting it. Plus, it’s easy to get. You can talk to your doctor. You can also drop by certain stores, such as Walgreens.
  2. Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. I know I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m sure you do this already. But, those with controlled asthma can still suffer from flare-ups. But, the more controlled your asthma is, the easier flare-ups are to control. So, this is just a reminder to take extra care not to forget to take your asthma medicine. I will be honest and say that sometimes I forget to take my medicine. Now, during flu season, is not a good time for this. So, just a friendly reminder to you and me here.
  3. Avoid sick people. This isn’t always so easy to do. I’m a respiratory therapist, so it’s my job to take care of sick people. If you’re a teacher, chances are you’ll be exposed to germy kids. But, if possible, it’s best to avoid sick people as best you can.
  4. Take extra precautions. Wash your hands. Wash your hands often. Encourage those around you to cover their mouths when they sneeze. Have them cough into a tissue. Or, better yet, cough or sneeze into their shoulder. Encourage them to wash hands often. Encourage them to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. I know this is easier said than done. But, as noted above, I’m just saying. Taking such precautions can go a long way to preventing the spread of a virus.
  5. Have a plan. Many of us asthmatics have written asthma action plans. If we feel symptoms, we know what to do: we have that plan. It should be in an easy to find location, like your refrigerator door. Make sure you review it with your doctor, if necessary. If you feel symptoms, if you think you have the flu, refer to your plan. Or, if in doubt, call your doctor. The sooner you take action the better.
  6. Seek help if necessary. If you even think you need to seek help, just do it. If you even think you have the flu, seek help right now! It’s best to seek help now than to wait too long. The sooner you are diagnosed, the easier it will be for doctors to fix you. So, don’t second guess yourself. Don’t wait thinking you’ll just get better. I say this based on my own personal experience. If you think you need help, seek it now.
  7. Know that there is something your doctor can do. Your doctor may step up your asthma treatment regimen. He or she may have you take systemic steroids, for example. This can help reduce airway inflammation and keep your airways open. He or she may use antiviral medicines to make the flu less severe. So, just keep in mind there is something that can be done if you get the flu.


So, there are steps you can take to prevent the flu. But, despite taking these steps, there’s no guarantee you won’t get it. When it gets into your lungs, you’ll want to take swift action. This is important when you don’t have asthma. It’s especially important when you do.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • SandiOli
    2 years ago

    Thank you John Bottrell for this post. I have been totally hibernating as I am so fearful of getting the flu and then a Asthma Flare! I have been getting Xolair injections (4 per month) for a year and have had excellent results. But, I did have a bad flare in October, two days after attending church and sitting near two people that were coughing like they had acute Bronchitis! I was so ill and it took three weeks to get back on track again. (Prednisone, nebulizer, doubling corticosteroids ). I am allergic to most of today’s antibiotics, so my physician is always very concerned when I catch a virus. Some people feel I am being paranoid by avoiding going out, especially into any crowd environment. Am I being too worried about this year’s strain. (And, yes I get the vaccine every year as well as the pneumonia vaccine in November.)

  • kassysteiger
    2 years ago

    I unfortunately got the flu this year and it was absolutely horrible. I am still recovering from it and it’s been two weeks! I was diagnosed with it at my doctors office and received tamiflu.. after a few days on it with no improvement I decided to go to an urgent care because my asthma was getting really bad and my cough was making it very difficult to breathe and I was on prednisone and some cough medicine. A few days later still no improvement and I developed a sharp pain in my back every time I took a breath and I was coughing up blood I went to another urgent care center which diagnosed me with bronchitis. They gave me antibiotics and was told to keep up with the prednisone and to follow up with my primary care doctor. Ended up in the er that night because of how horrible I felt. Received IV antibiotics and made sure I didn’t have pneumonia. Followed up with my primary care doctor still feeling the sickest I’ve ever felt in my life and at this point I couldn’t breathe without a stabbing pain in the back of my chest so she sent me for a CT scan of my chest. I know have 2 blood clots in my lung along with my asthma flare up from the flu. Prednisone, pain meds and blood thinners for me. This flu is not a joke and you are definitely not in the wrong for hibernating! I hope you don’t catch it!

  • SandiOli
    2 years ago

    So sorry to hear how sick you have been. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post, as well as supporting my hibernation!

    I hope you are soon feeling much better and able to be off blood thinners and Prednisone! Prayers sent your way.

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