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Local experts urge those with respiratory conditions to stay safe this winter

North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is warning those with a respiratory condition to stay safe this winter, anticipating an annual spike in hospital admissions for those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

While many of us take a day or two off work due to a mild cold and generally feeling unwell, it's often a different story for people with chronic respiratory disease. Asthma sufferers are particularly vulnerable as the cold weather and viral infections, such as flu can lead to patients needing more care and support than usual and often resulting in admission to hospital.

There are a few simple steps that those with, asthma, COPD or other respiratory health conditions can do to keep well: 

• Ask friends and neighbours for help with essentials, such as shopping or medicines.
• Have the flu jab. The vaccine is available until 31 March 2015, so contact your GP surgery to book an appointment.
• Be familiar with your self-care plan.  If you don’t have one, contact your GP or practice nurse.
• Make sure you have a rescue pack at home in case things do go wrong.
• Have the pneumonia vaccine if you’ve been offered it.
• If you’re unsure dial the local health advice line (01472 256 222) or see your pharmacist for advice. 
• If you are breathless and/or have chest pain seek urgent medical help.

Dr Rakesh Pathak, Clinical Lead for Unplanned Care and GP said: "Many people would not need to be admitted to hospital if they took a few simple self-care steps. I've worked with many patients with respiratory conditions over the years and I've seen how those with help and support have become experts at managing their own conditions.

"I know that most respiratory crises can be dealt with at home or in the community.  Patients with asthma or COPD should all have self-management and action plans in place. My message to patients and the public is simple: Look after yourself this winter."

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