Asth­mat­ics need to plan ahead for a sum­mer break

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

Asthma and Res­pi­ra­tory Foun­da­tion NZ has is­sued a warn­ing to asthma and al­lergy suf­fer­ers to get pre­pared ahead of the Christ­mas hol­i­days.

Res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease af­fects 700,000 peo­ple in New Zealand. Asthma af­fects one in seven chil­dren and one in eight adults in New Zealand and kills 77 peo­ple each year.

Teresa Demetriou, head of ed­u­ca­tion and RE­search at Asthma and Res­pi­ra­tory Foun­da­tion NZ, says it’s im­por­tant peo­ple are mind­ful of asthma and al­lergy trig­gers.

“Heat and high pollen lev­els can be a real prob­lem for some peo­ple,” she says. “The main mes­sage we want to get out there to peo­ple is — be pre­pared, and get in­formed about your trig­gers.”

The Foun­da­tion NZ has put to­gether top tips for the sum­mer:

Put to­gether an asthma / al­lergy man­age­ment plan with a health pro­fes­sional.

Get more in­formed about your trig­gers. Be care­ful around com­mon hol­i­day trig­gers like Christ­mas trees, out­door bar­be­cues and fires, and sun­screens and mos­quito re­pel­lents.

Be­ing pre­pared and plan­ning ahead be­fore trav­el­ling is a must, in­clud­ing en­sur­ing you have enough med­i­ca­tion. If you know you are go­ing to be away from your main bags for a long time, make sure you have ev­ery­thing in hand lug­gage.

If you are away from home, keep med­i­ca­tions close. Most medicines work best in con­di­tions lower than 25 de­grees so avoid keep­ing it on the win­dow sill, in the glove box or in di­rect sun.

For most peo­ple it is still im­por­tant to take your pre­ven­ter ev­ery day.

Be care­ful around pets if that’s your trig­ger, and al­ways stay away from cig­a­rette smoke.

Down­load the free ‘My Asthma’ app for eas­ier asthma man­age­ment. Teresa says over the school hol­i­days chil­dren are of­ten ex­posed to vary­ing en­vi­ron­ments, dif­fer­ent to their nor­mal school week. Go­ing away on fam­ily trips, be­ing looked af­ter by other care­givers in new en­vi­ron­ments, or at­tend­ing sleep­overs at friends’ homes, can mean that your child is ex­posed to their asthma trig­gers.

If your child is be­ing taken care of by another care­giver:

En­sure that the care­giver is aware of your child’s asthma and what to do if their asthma gets worse. It’s a good idea to give them a copy of your child’s Asthma Ac­tion Plan and talk them through us­ing their med­i­ca­tion.

En­sure that your child feels com­fort­able enough with their care­giver to ask for as­sis­tance if they start to ex­pe­ri­ence any asthma symp­toms.

While it is not pos­si­ble to en­sure any space is dust-free, tak­ing their own sleep­ing bag or other bed­ding can help re­duce a child’s ex­po­sure and pos­si­ble symp­toms.

Make sure the care­giver is aware of pos­si­ble ac­tiv­i­ties that may be an is­sue e.g. pil­low fights, hide-and-seek in high pollen ar­eas.

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