WIGAN health chiefs have issued a warning to those with respiratory conditions after a huge surge in people being admitted this winter.
NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group has urged those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - a collection of lung diseases - to take self-care steps to stop their condition worsening in cold temperatures.
Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and Chair of NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said many people would not need to be admitted to hospital if they looked after themselves.
He said: “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: Be clear about what you can do to look after yourself better.
“Equally if you are unsure of what to do if you become unwell; develop a plan with your practice nurse or GP and write it down so you can follow it later if you become poorly.”
Many are unsure if they have these conditions are not. Typical symptoms include a wheeze in asthma.
It is a continuous whistling sound heard on breathing out. A family history of asthma or allergies can also increase the likelihood of having it.
Dr Dalton added: “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 admittance to hospital.
“This can often be avoided by having an advance plan to help manage your condition.”