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World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma to raise awareness of asthma around the world. Asthma affects approximately 235 million people and causes an estimated 250,000 deaths annually worldwide. New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, with 1 in 9 adults and 1 in 7 children affected. 

World Asthma Day takes place on the first Tuesday of May and the 2016 theme was "You can control your asthma." Good asthma control involves taking your course of medication as prescribed, regularly visiting your health professional and completing an asthma management plan. Asthma management plans should be filled out with your health professional, and are designed to help manage your asthma and recognise when it is deteriorating before it gets to an emergency situation. 

Despite the huge prevalence of asthma in New Zealand, few people understand the level of severity the condition can reach. Although many people have mild or controllable asthma, others have severe life-threatening asthma, known as brittle asthma.

In New Zealand, over 460,000 people take medication for asthma, costing the country over $800 million per year. Māori, Pacific peoples and low-income families are 3 times more likely to be hospitalised for asthma and on average, asthma kills 67 Kiwis each year.

Click here to download a free PDF of the Asthma in New Zealand infographic.

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Teresa Demetriou, National Education Services Manager for Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ and registered nurse, has answered some common asthma questions people have about asthma, including what to do in an asthma attack, how an inhaler works and what you can do to manage the condition. You can watch the videos on our Youtube channel here.

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Click to find out more information about living with asthma.

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