Longer and warmer days are a welcome change, but with them comes a host of asthma and allergy triggers to watch out for.

Respiratory conditions are extremely common in New Zealand, affecting over 700,000 people across all demographics. Asthma affects one in eight adults, and one in three have allergies.

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ’s Head of Education and Research Teresa Demetriou says that it’s important to be mindful of asthma and allergy triggers at this time of year.

"Triggers are conditions that make asthma worse, or bring on an attack", says Teresa. "Knowing as much as you can about your triggers can help you to reduce exposure to them, and make your asthma easier to manage.

"Pollen is a common trigger for many people, and limiting your exposure can really help. Other common triggers include smoke and heat, so watch out around the summer barbeques and smokers. Even seemingly innocuous things like picnic blankets that haven’t been washed, or fly spray, can cause an attack if you’re not careful, so keep your eyes peeled for potential risks."

If you have asthma or allergies, put together a management plan with your doctor, and talk to them about your triggers. You can also download the free 'My Asthma' app for easier asthma management.

Teresa also says that while Kiwis often don’t want to make a fuss, it’s important to know when to seek help.

"Asthma and allergies can be managed, so there’s no need to suffer through the symptoms. People often see them as something that just happens, but there are many ways to potentially alleviate the symptoms, and help you to enjoy the summer months to the fullest.

"So get informed, and enjoy the summer weather safely."

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