Asthmatics need to plan ahead for a summer break
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.