The latest revision of the Child Asthma Guidelines will be released by Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) on Monday, June 15, and will be presented at the General Practitioners Conference and Medical Exhibition (GPCME) this weekend.

These guidelines have been developed by a multidisciplinary group of respiratory health experts under the leadership of Dr David McNamara, an Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ Scientific Advisory Board member and respiratory paediatrician at Starship Children’s Health.

The 2020 Guidelines, last updated in 2017, lay out practical guidance for health professionals for the diagnosis and treatment of asthma in children, based on the most current evidence available. The revision leads up to the release of the new Adolescent and Adult Asthma Guidelines.

Dr David McNamara, the lead author on the updated Child Asthma Guidelines, says that this gave the opportunity to bring the latest research into the Child Guidelines, particularly for the treatment of preschool wheeze.

"The new guidelines are an important step in reducing disparities and improving outcomes for children with asthma and their whānau," says Dr McNamara. "They also address the biggest challenges in asthma management: patient education, follow-up, motivation, and improving adherence.

"We want to help our children not be confined by their asthma, and we hope that the focus on easy treatment will help this."

Joanna Turner, Research and Education Manager at ARFNZ, says that revision of the management of preschool wheeze is just one of many changes.

"The opportunity to add in learnings from the 2018 Impact report was fantastic," says Joanna. "Clarifying and adapting the Guidelines to align with the Report will make sure that New Zealand children get the best care possible."

Letitia Harding, ARFNZ’s Chief Executive, agrees on the importance of up-to-date Guidelines.

"The 2018 Impact Report showed that respiratory disease accounts for one in 10 overnight hospitalisations, and costs the country more than $7 billion per year," says Letitia. "One in eight children in New Zealand have asthma or a related condition, with this number being even higher in lower socioeconomic areas.

"These Guidelines should help to reduce these numbers, and keep Kiwi kids breathing freely."

The Child Asthma Guidelines will be presented at the first ever digital GPCME this weekend. All attendees to the Foundation’s digital exhibition stand will also enter a draw to win a brand new Fitbit Versa 2, kindly donated by Fitbit.

Visit www.nzrespiratoryguidelines.co.nz from Monday 15 June to download a free copy of the Child and Asthma Guidelines, or attend GPCME this weekend to find out more.

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