With the summer holidays almost upon us, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation is reminding Kiwis to take some simple actions to look after their respiratory health over the next months.
“For those 700,000 New Zealanders with respiratory conditions, the most important reminder is to keep using your medications as prescribed. It can be easy to get out of a routine while on holiday but to keep on top of your symptoms, you must continue to use your medication as directed,” says Foundation Chief Executive Letitia Harding.
Ms Harding is also reminding people to take their medication and action plans with them on holiday. “Remember to pack these important items and keep your reliever inhaler with you at all times,” she advises.
Action plans are essential self-management documents outlining how to recognise and respond to worsening symptoms of respiratory conditions like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). These are completed by health practitioners in conjunction with patients. “The Foundation makes these available as downloadable or interactive digital documents, so they can be saved to a phone or other device and used wherever you are,” explains Ms Harding.
For those travelling away from home, the Foundation also suggests identifying the closest medical facilities (pharmacies, hospitals, After Hour practices) to your accommodation, and the locations of these facilities along your travel route.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in the community, the Foundation is also recommending that those concerned about their respiratory health take extra care over the festive period. “There will be more get-togethers and more movement around the country, as people go on holiday, so the risk of exposure will increase. We advise continuing with sensible precautions, like mask-wearing, and hand washing,” Ms Harding says. She recommends following the latest Ministry of Health advice on the Safe As Summer website.
Pollen and heat can be major triggers for those with respiratory conditions, so the Foundation advises checking forecasts on the Metservice website or app and making plans accordingly. “If it’s expected to be very hot, or windy with a lot of pollen, you may want to plan for an indoor day or go out either first thing in the morning or in the evening, when it’s cooler and the pollen levels are lower,” says Ms Harding.