The NZ Health Survey in 2007 found in the two to fourteen year old age group that one in seven children in NZ have asthma. Just under fifteen percent of children!
Of these children three quarters have intermittent wheezing which means the child may wheeze for a few days but have no wheeze for at least 6 to 8 weeks between attacks. Five to ten percent of children have a more persistent wheeze and this group of asthmatic children need to be on an asthma preventor medication (these children have symptoms most days).
All patients with asthma ideally need to work out what their triggers to having asthma are; common ones include exposure to cigarette smoke, being allergic to dust mites, cats, pollens, grass, upper respiratory tract infections, exposure to cold air or mould, exercise or childhood stress. Having a symptom diary is often a useful way of working out what ones’ triggers are. Avoiding the triggers can help.
In winter we see a surge in presentation of children with asthma. Knowing what symptom signs to look for if the asthma is getting worse is vital for the family. An asthma action plan is a good way to guide care in the individual. The flu vaccine is available and recommended for patients with asthma especially if the child or adult is on a preventor medication for their asthma. Discussion with your GP first would be advisable.
Some helpful websites for asthma allergies include:
At Crawford Medical Centre the Doctors and nurses are keen to help diagnose, prevent and manage asthma.