Colds, the Flu, and COVID-19

Colds, flu and COVID-19 are viruses that affect the airways in different ways. They can trigger asthma or cause worsening symptoms.

While the common cold is normally not serious, the flu and COVID-19 can be. For those with asthma it is important to follow your asthma action plan to ensure your asthma is well-controlled. You may find it helpful to record your peak flow readings and/or your symptoms to monitor control of your asthma.

If you have cold and flu symptoms, get a COVID test and if you are (or think you may be) positive for COVID-19, follow the Ministry of Health guidance.

Vaccination is the best way to avoid getting the flu and COVID-19.

The flu vaccine is free for people with asthma who are prescribed a regular preventer medicine. Free flu vaccinations are also available to children aged between six months and five years who have a history of significant respiratory illness. Talk to your primary health care team.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme was rolled out in New Zealand in 2021. For those with asthma, ensuring that you are fully vaccinated significantly reduces the risk of serious illness – should you get COVID-19. See the latest Ministry of Health guidance for immunisation against COVID-19.

Consult your healthcare practitioner or Healthline if your asthma gets worse or you are concerned.

Useful Resources

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Child Asthma Action Plan Cover

Child Asthma Action Plan

This asthma action plan is for healthcare practitioners to complete alongside parents/caregivers and their child. Available in English, te reo Māori, Samoan and Tongan

3 Stage Asthma Action Plans Cover

3 Stage Asthma Action Plan

​This self-management action plan for adolescents and adults (aged 12 years and over) is to be completed by healthcare practitioners, together with their patients. Available in English, te reo Māori, Samoan, Tongan and Simplified Chinese​