National Asthma Week

National Asthma Week: 1-7 September 2014

This week, Australia Wide First Aid is teaming up with the National Asthma Council, Australia to help encourage you to put yourself in charge, not your asthma, with the theme “Take Control of Your Asthma”.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is characterised by recurrent respiratory symptoms, especially wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. Unfortunately, the prevalence of Asthma is still increasing, currently affecting 1 in 10 people or 3.1 million Australians.

The symptoms of asthma and its intensity are different from person to person. While your symptoms usually wax and wane overtime, you can take control of your asthma through the correct management techniques and prescribed medication.

Asthma can often have a severe impact on quality of life and may be life-threatening to some people. The severity of asthma ranges from mild to intermittent symptoms, causing few problems for the individual, or they can be severe and persistent which can cause wheezing and shortness of breath.

There is always a trigger which sets of an individual’s asthma. Triggers differ from person to person, and can include one or a combination of the following:

  • Viral respiratory infections such as colds and flu
  • Exercise
  • Exposure to specific allergens: house dust mites, pollen, mould spores, pets and animals.
  • Environment irritants: tobacco, other air pollutants and cold/dry air
  • Dietary triggers:  food chemicals and additives
  • Medicines: aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Occupations exposures: specific allergens, including dust or fumes.


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The Beginning of Spring:

September 1st, 2014 not only marks the beginning of National Asthma Week, but recognises the arrival of spring. While spring time promises warmer weather for all, it also means itchy eyes, sneezing and wheezing for the 7 million Australians with Asthma and Allergies.

Increased pollen in the air (often emphasised by hot dry and windy conditions), plus thunderstorms and temperature changes make spring time to be on high alert for asthmatics.

Other common triggers of asthma include dust mites, pets and mould which often have an increased negative effect on asthmatics. These allergens tend to build up over the winter, which can be potentially dangerous and bring on allergic or asthmatic reactions as Spring arrives.

Kristine Whorlow, CEO of the National Asthma Council Australia advises people with asthma or allergies to take extra care during spring.

“It is very important to ensure your asthma action plan is updated before spring starts, so you know exactly what to do if your asthma flares up. Also, speak with your General Practitioner, Nurse, or Pharmacist to confirm if you are using the right technique for your asthma inhaler or allergy nasal spray” said Ms Whorlow.

While spring cleaning can help reduce allergy and asthma triggers in your home, it must be done with care to avoid causing a flare-up of asthma or allergies.

Here a few ways you can take control of your asthma during Spring, also known as “The Pollen Peak”:

  • Try to avoid the outdoors on days with high pollen count (7-9am and 4-6pm), on windy days or after thunderstorms.
  • After being outside, take a shower (or wash your face and hand thoroughly) and wash your clothes. Pollen sticks to your body and washing immediately after being exposed to pollen reduces the amount transferred into your home.
  • Dry your sheets and clothes indoors.
  • Don’t mow the grass yourself, and stay inside when it is being mowed.
  • Speak with your GP about local asthma threats and make sure your asthma action plan is up to date.

National Asthma Week Events:

NAClogo

On Tuesday 2 September, singer/songwriter Kimbra will join forces with the National Asthma Council Australia and Asthma Australia to help launch our Asthma: Take Control Education Campaign.

 

Join the National Asthma Council of Australia for a live performance by Kimbra, get some expert asthma advice and then add your commitment to take control of your asthma to our giant art installation.

On Thursday 4 September, at a special presentation dinner, we will be announcing the winners of our 2014 Excellence in Asthma and Allergy Reporting Awards.

Recognising the important role the media play in asthma education, the National Asthma Council Australia created the Awards in 1998 to acknowledge and reward excellence in asthma journalism and to promote and encourage responsible reporting of issues relating to asthma and allergy treatment, management and education. Australia Wide First Aid were invited to enter the 2014 Excellence in Asthma and Allergy Reporting Awards via the submission of our Asthma Blogs. Wish us luck, we are up against many wide field who have submitted many high quality entries.

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