Influenza and Asthma – Double trouble

With winter approaching in UAE and Covid 19 has already shattered our normal life, we should be prepared with all precautionary measures and lessen the burden of another viral infection adding more distress. The change in climate introduces a variety of virus surrounding us causing different types of illness ranging from mild Upper Respiratory infections to Life threatening pulmonary (lung)

Influenza Virus

We have been hearing about influenza virus/Swine flu for few years now. In 2009 for the first time we heard the word “Pandemic” after almost 40 years. The Influenza A virus strain -H1N1(Swine Flu) was the cause for that outbreak. It’s called swine flu because in the past, the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. That changed when a new virus emerged that spread among people who hadn’t been
near pigs. As travel between countries became more effortless and affordable the spread of influenza became faster and people from one country spread it to all over the world.
Pandemic is the new word we hear every day in and out from doctors, from Media. Pandemic means worldwide (Crossing international borders) spread of new disease. Mostly it’s a viral strain of an already known virus which emerges sporadically or by mutation and spreads around
the world infecting people.

There are four types of Influenza virus – A, B, C and D

Influenza A and B are responsible for the seasonal flu epidemics each year. Influenza A is found mainly in animals and birds like chicken,duck,horse ,pigs etc. Influenza B is predominantly found in Humans and causes less severe infections than a but it still can be harmful. As with almost all Viral infections, the transmission is by tiny droplets spread when people with flu cough, sneezes or talks. The virus laden in the droplets land in the nose, mouth of people in close vicinity and help the spread of the virus. You can also get it by touching a surface or object that has virus on it.

Asthma and Influenza
80% of Asthma exacerbations are triggered by Viral respiratory infections with Influenza being the most important trigger factor among them. Asthmatics have a higher risk of catching Influenza and Problems double during infection. Influenza causes respiratory inflammation in infected people and it set off symptoms of asthma like Wheezing, Chest tightness, Difficulty in breathing, cough in the predisposed persons. A combination of Asthma and Influenza together challenges the immune system and increases the risk of pneumonia and hospitalization. And this year we have a Covid 19 lurking in the background and schools reopening as well. After being repeatedly advised and educated in the Covid scenario of the preventive measures like use of face masks and sanitizers, the severity and intensity of the spread of Influenza should be reduced. But with Restrictions relaxing, schools reopening, Covid numbers still raging high and Winter just around the corner ,along with the carelessness of few individuals – it’s important to get the Flu Vaccination done as its safe ,protective and reduces the collateral damage when Asthma or Covid becomes associated with Influenza. It should be available by middle of September and can be taken from age 6 months onwards.



Dr.Manosh Karun,

Specialist Pediatrician

Aster Clinic, Silicon Oasis (DSO)





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