Last updated on 31/05/2024


The most common trigger for asthma flare-ups in Australia is being sick with a respiratory infection like a cold or flu and other viruses. This includes asthma attacks bad enough to need a hospital visit. So it is important to protect against respiratory infections, by practising good hygiene (like handwashing and covering your coughs), staying home when sick, getting vaccinated and having an asthma review.

In adults, the most common time to have your asthma triggered by a virus is over winter. That’s why the ideal time to get your flu vaccine is before winter hits.

There are many vaccines that help stop viruses and bacteria from making you sick. Some are free for certain people under Australia’s National Immunisation Program. Others you can still choose to have, but you may have to pay out of pocket. Because respiratory infections have such a large impact on asthma, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you can do to avoid them.

Several viruses have been linked to developing or worsening asthma. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), for example, is thought to be responsible for up to 22% of asthma risk in kids under 5 and up to 27% of asthma risk in kids aged 5-11 years! The good news is that immunisation against RSV is now available to certain groups of people, in some states.

Learn more about vaccinations for infectious diseases:


To find out if you are eligible for a certain vaccine, check out these resources:

What to do during flu season

Immunisations against infectious diseases