If you or a family member has asthma, in addition to your GP, practice nurse or specialist, a number of people and organisations would like to help you with your condition. 

For friendly, local, specialised support and information, contact one of our regional partners throughout New Zealand. Their staff focus on respiratory matters so often have excellent specialised knowledge and experience. They can provide you with information and resources to assist you in managing your condition, including one-on-one education, advice, and support. Their services are either free or available for a small charge. 

Click here to download a management plan for asthma and complete it with your health professional. This can help you work out how well you are and what to do if your asthma gets worse, or as it gets better and what to do in an emergency. Research shows that people who follow Self-Management Plans have better control over their asthma. 

A physiotherapist can teach techniques to control breathing patterns to avoid breathlessness and to clear phlegm from the chest. They can also help improve fitness and endurance, and boost immunity levels. Read a brochure from Physiotherapy NZ about how physiotherapy can help people with asthma, or visit physiotherapy.org.nz to find a local physiotherapist. Physiotherapy NZ also hosts a blog with information on how physiotherapy can help your asthma called Breathe Easy.

dietitian can provide education about the best foods to eat for people with a respiratory illness, based upon their medical condition and individual needs. Visit the New Zealand Dietetic Association (NZDA)’s website dietitians.org.nz to locate a dietitian in your area.

An occupational therapist can teach people easy ways to do basic daily tasks that become more difficult for people who are unwell. Call your local district health board (DHB) and ask to speak with the occupational therapy department (a list of DHB contact details can be found here).

Become smokefree! If you want assistance to stop smoking the Quitline website at www.quit.org.nz. For information on second hand smoke click here and for tips on making your home and car smokefree click here.

Healthy homes

BRANZ (Building Research Association of New Zealand) has a variety of information bulletins which can be downloaded each at small cost from their website, under ‘publications’, then ‘bulletins’ branz.org.nz.
EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) has a range of energy conservation information at energywise.govt.nz.

Is your asthma under control? Take our Asthma Control Test here to find out.

Parents and caregivers of children with asthma should make sure that their child has a child asthma plan (completed with a health professional/ GP), is immunised against influenza each year and uses their preventer medications as prescribed, rather than just relying on their relievers when their asthma gets bad.

Emergencies

What do I do if someone has an asthma attack?
In an asthma attack, people’s airways may swell and narrow, causing wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.

Be calm and reassuring

Sit the person down and get them to lean forward slightly. Ensure that their arms are supported by their knees, a table or the arms of a chair.

Give 2 puffs of a reliever inhaler

Use the person’s own inhaler if possible. If not, use a First Aid kit inhaler or borrow one from someone else. Remember to give just 1 puff at a time.
Relievers are best given through a spacer (except for Bricanyl which cannot be used with a spacer). It makes the delivery of the drug more effective. If no spacer is available you can use a polystyrene cup: punch a hole in the bottom and insert the inhaler through the hole. Place the top end of the cup over the patient’s mouth and nose and activate the inhaler.

If there is no improvement, give another 2 puffs (1 puff at a time).

This can be repeated as required.

If little or no improvement, CALL AN AMBULANCE IMMEDIATELY (DIAL 111)

State simply and clearly that the person is having an asthma attack. Keep giving puffs of the reliever as required until the ambulance arrives.

With spacer

  1. Shake inhaler and insert mouthpiece into spacer
  2. Place spacer mouthpiece in person’s mouth and fire one puff
  3. Ask the person to breathe in and out normally for about 6 breaths
  4. Repeat in quick succession until 6 puffs have been given

Without spacer

  1. Shake inhaler
  2. Place mouthpiece in the person’s mouth
  3. Fire 1 puff as the person inhales slowly and steadily
  4. Ask the person to hold that breath for 6 seconds, then take 6 normal breaths. Repeat as required.

What if it is someone’s first asthma attack?

  • If someone collapses and appears to have difficulty breathing, CALL AN AMBULANCE IMMEDIATELY, whether or not the person is known to have asthma.
  • Give 2 puffs of a reliever and repeat if no improvement.
  • Keep giving puffs of the reliever as required until the ambulance arrives.
  • No harm is likely to result from giving a reliever to someone who does not have asthma.

Remember what to do…A-S-T-H-M-A…, Assess, Sit, Treat, Help, Monitor, All Okay!

Is your asthma under control?

Take the asthma control test to find out

Useful Asthma Resources

View all
Child Asthma Plan Symptom Diary

Child Symptom Diary

This brochure is a symptom diary for doctors to give to their child patients and their parents/caregivers, and is used in conjunction with the Child Asthma Plan.

Child Asthma Plan

Child Asthma Plan

This brochure is an asthma action plan for doctors to complete and give to child patients and their parents/caregivers.

What Is Asthma

What is Asthma

An information booklet on symptoms, triggers, management strategies, medicines and steps to take in an asthma emergency.​