Winter threat to respiratory conditions

People living with long-term respiratory conditions in Derbyshire are being urged to keep taking their medication to avoid a hospital admission as winter draws to an end.

Winter can have an impact on everyone’s health with a large number of common illnesses circulating at this time of year, but those living with chronic health conditions are at an even greater risk.

This is particularly the case for people with respiratory problems such as severe asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). During the winter months when there are periods of sustained cold weather, the weather can have an impact and make existing symptoms worse.

People with long-term health problems can take a few simple precautions to look after themselves and prevent their condition from becoming more serious. That includes ensuring they always take their regular medication as prescribed by their GP.

Dr Ken Deacon, medical director for NHS England in Derbyshire, said: “Symptoms of long-term respiratory conditions are often worse in winter, because of the cold weather and the fact that the common illnesses which circulate at this time of year can lead to complications.

“Symptoms of COPD in particular are often worse in winter – and that typically means increased breathlessness, persistent coughing, frequent chest infections and wheezing. It’s also common to have two or more flare-ups a year when symptoms are particularly bad and could result in a hospital admission.

“Even though we’re now into March and the start of spring is only a few weeks away, the weather remains changeable and the next cold snap could be just around the corner. It’s important for people with long-term respiratory problems not to get complacent but to continue to look after themselves.”