Portsmouth GP advises people with breathing issues to get flu jab

Dr Andrew Whittamore.
Dr Andrew Whittamore.

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A GP is highlighting the importance for those with respiratory problems to have their flu jab.

In Portsmouth 12,780 people are registered as having a breathing problem – most commonly Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma.

However figures from Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) show only 6,911 of those registered with a breathing problem have had their flu jab.

The CCG is supporting efforts to get the numbers higher.

Dr Jonathan Lake, a clinical executive for the CCG who leads on managing long-term conditions, said: ‘We know a lot of people have been admitted to Queen Alexandra Hospital with respiratory problems this winter.

‘With the weather set to get colder again, it does make sense for people to do as much as possible to protect themselves.

‘Not only does this ease pressure on the local NHS, but more importantly keeps the population healthy.’

Advice on managing conditions in cold weather include keeping warm and dry; go for regular asthma reviews; taking medication as prescribed and keeping an eye on the weather forecast.

Dr Andrew Whittamore, who works with the Portsdown Group Practice and is also Asthma UK’s clinical lead, is urging those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so.

He said: ‘The flu outbreak this year is extremely concerning and needs to be taken seriously.

‘One of the best ways for people with respiratory problems such as COPD and asthma to stay safe this winter is to make sure they take their medicines as prescribed.

‘This ensures their airways are less inflamed and sensitive, and will help them to resist the effects of the flu.’

For more advice visit asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/weather.