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H1N1 Hits WI Asthma Sufferers Hard

October 29, 2009

MADISON, Wisc. - As medical facilities in Wisconsin become inundated with flu sufferers, it is especially important that people with asthma make sure they are treated and protected. Asthmatics are at much greater risk than the general public for severe complications if they come down with H1N1 - or even with seasonal flu.

That is why they are on the priority list for H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccinations, says Rhonda Yngsdal-Krenz, chair of the Wisconsin Asthma Coalition.

"People with any type of respiratory infection - especially asthmatics - if they do end up getting H1N1, it makes their signs and symptoms even worse."

People with asthma in Wisconsin and elsewhere are being advised to get the H1N1 vaccination shot, not the inhaled "FluMist" vaccine, Yngsdal-Krenz says, even though shots are in short supply in some areas. "FluMist" can raise the risk of wheezing for them, she warns.

"People with asthma should be getting the H1N1 flu vaccine as well as their regular seasonal flu vaccine, but they should receive the vaccination with a needle and syringe rather than the inhaled version."

Yngsdal-Krenz reminds those suffering from asthma to remember they are on a priority list to receive the H1N1 vaccine - and to bring that up with health professionals who are doling out limited supplies.

"They're running low - or running out, as is the case recently - so people with asthma really should be contacting their physicians and getting vaccinated through them."

This would be a good time for asthma patients to update the written Asthma Action Plan they have developed with their doctor, she adds, in case they do become ill.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI