Health News

High Flu Numbers Leads to Major Asthma Increase

Colds and flu are wreaking havoc in Central Florida this month and that’s bad news for many asthma sufferers.  It comes as no surprise that Centra Care physicians have seen a significant increase in asthma patients recently.

Asthma is often triggered by a viral infection like a cold or the flu (two illnesses that are both showing high numbers these days). For those with asthma, what starts as a minor illness can quickly irritate your airway tubes and cause more serious symptoms.

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Asthma can be dangerous and should not be ignored.  It is a disease of the airways, (your breathing tubes).  Asthma creates inflammation and spasm of these tubes, which makes breathing more difficult and causes wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

A Centra Care doctor will diagnose asthma based on three things:

  1. Medical History
  2. Physical Exam
  3. Test Results

They will also figure out how severe your asthma is in order to determine proper treatment.  Tests may include a lung function test, a chest X-Ray and even an EKG.  These tests will help find whether an infection or allergy or a foreign object may be causing your symptoms.

The goals of asthma treatment are to establish normal lung function, relieve symptoms, and prevent asthma flare-ups.  There is no cure for asthma, although symptoms may decrease over time.  It is important to identify and avoid your asthma trigger(s).  Your doctor may prescribe medications based on your condition.

The type of medication that you receive depends on the severity of your asthma, the cause of your symptoms, and your lung functioning.  Nebulizer therapy, more commonly known as a breathing treatment is available at all Centra Care locations.  A nebulizer changes liquid medication to a mist, which is particularly effective in administering asthma medication to infants and young children.

If you’re an asthma sufferer and you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, now is the time to do so.  Those with asthma are at a much higher risk of flu complications and should take vaccination seriously.