Asthma UK is urging people with asthma to be vigilant in winter as data shows the number of people who die because of an asthma attack peaks in January1 and remains high in February and March.
Data from the Office for National Statistics highlights that asthma is the cause of proportionately more excess winter deaths2 than other conditions3 and respiratory diseases were the underlying cause of death in more than a third of all excess winter deaths in 2014/15.
It’s thought that cold weather4 and viruses like cold and flu may be partly to blame; 90% of people with asthma report that cold and flu viruses make their asthma worse and 75% of people find that cold weather triggers an asthma attack. Given the recent bitterly cold weather and an increase in reported cases of flu, Asthma UK wants to ensure that everyone with asthma takes their medicines as prescribed, uses a written asthma action plan and knows what to do if their symptoms start to deteriorate.
Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, says: “This data shows that as the cold weather hits it is absolutely vital that the 1 in 11 people with asthma in the UK are not complacent about how serious asthma is. The National Review of Asthma Deaths highlighted almost half of those who died from an asthma attack were being treated for mild or moderate asthma, so it’s essential that everyone with asthma takes extra care to manage their condition during the winter months. Taking your preventative medicine will help build your resilience and if you use an action plan you are four times less likely to be hospitalised because of your asthma – download one from our website today. ”
The UK has one of the highest asthma death rates in Western Europe5 three people die because of asthma attacks every day in the UK.