In New Zealand more than 521,000 people take medication for asthma, and up to 80 per cent of asthma is associated with allergy. That’s a lot of families which need to be prepared this summer – read on to find out how.
Visit your GP
New asthma action plans were released by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ in November, so now is a great time to get a new plan based on the latest best-practice. Ask your GP to review your asthma action plan.
Don’t forget medications
It’s important to stay on top of your medication during the summer, and take preventers regularly if prescribed. If you’re going away on holiday, make sure your prescription medications will last until you arrive back home, and always take extra with you. Pack everything else you need, including a spacer (if your inhaler allows) and peak flow meter.
Temperature and weather changes
Changes of temperature and weather can be a trigger for people with asthma. Be aware of change of climate and/or temperature if you’re planning to go on a holiday. If you know that certain weather affects your asthma, you may need to increase your medicine during that time.
Pollens, moulds and fungal spores
Pollens can come from grasses, trees and shrubs. Grasses and weeds are so widespread and have such a long season that they usually cause the major pollen problems in New Zealand. If you have asthma that is triggered by these allergens, try and avoid them, or minimise exposure to them where possible.
Around three-quarters of people with asthma become wheezy when in a smoky room. During the summer season stay away from second-hand smoke from cigarettes at social occasions, and also remember to avoid smoke from bonfires at night, or smoky barbeques.
A high proportion of New Zealand families have cats and the allergens they produce tend to stay in the house for long periods. Dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and mice can also cause problems in some people. If animals are one of your triggers, when visiting friends or family who have furry animals, take extra medication beforehand, or ask them to visit you.
A Sensitive Choice®
The Sensitive Choice® programme in New Zealand is managed by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation. The programme is designed to help people easily identify products and services that are asthma and allergy-friendly. For fact sheets on managing asthma and allergies visit sensitivechoice.co.nz
8 December, 2017
“The new guidelines are an important step in reducing disparities and improving outcomes for children with asthma and their whānau,” says David McNamara, Respiratory Paediatrician at Starship Children’s Health.