The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is advising the
700,000 New Zealanders with respiratory conditions to be
well prepared for a potentially tough winter

"With ongoing Covid-19 infections, new strains
of winter flu entering the country and low community
immunity to these strains, it’s more important than ever
that people with a respiratory illness are taking steps to
keep themselves well," says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia

Influenza is a serious illness that affects
the nose, throat and lungs, and can worsen existing
respiratory conditions like asthma. A further risk this
winter is the possibility of having flu and Covid-19 within
a short space of time.

"Our message to all of those
with respiratory illnesses like asthma or Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is to firstly ensure
that your condition is well-managed. If it is not
well-managed, or you are unsure about what to do if your
symptoms get worse, then please see a healthcare
practitioner and get advice," says ARFNZ Research and
Education Manager Joanna Turner.

ARFNZ is also
reminding people to protect themselves by getting a flu
vaccine. People with asthma who are prescribed regular
preventative medicine and those with other chronic breathing
conditions are eligible for free flu vaccines. These
vaccines are available to adults and children aged three
years and over, between April and December each year from
authorised pharmacist vaccinators and GP/health care

Children between the ages of six months and
five years, who have a history of significant respiratory
illness can also access free flu vaccines from their
GP/health care practice. In 2022, the flu vaccine is free
for Māori and Pasifika, aged 55 years and over.

you have not yet had your Covid-19 vaccine or booster, you
can receive this at the same time as your flu vaccine. If
you have recently had Covid-19, the Ministry of Health
recommends getting your flu vaccine as soon as you are
recovered, but if you are unsure talk to a health

The Ministry has also highlighted that
there is a low risk of getting a second case of Covid-19,
within 90 days of a first infection. In this situation,
anyone with underlying respiratory conditions should seek
advice from their GP or

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