Asthma risks are set to soar for kids this winter, warns the National Asthma Council Australia.
National Asthma Council Australia Director and pharmacist, Stephen Hughes, says that the delayed arrival of colder weather across Australia will hit unprepared families with asthma hard.
“Our long stretch of warm temperatures into autumn is likely to have given many families with asthma a false sense of security,” he says.
“Australians with asthma need to be prepared for winter and the risks that it brings. Risks include not only colds and the flu but seasonal indoor triggers such as moulds, unflued gas heaters, and smoke.
“These may be additive with perennial burdens such as dust mites and pet allergens .
“Despite evidence that preventing asthma is better than reacting to symptoms as they arise, a significant proportion of people orient towards an acute approach for their asthma care. Asthma needs to be prioritised as a chronic condition, not an acute one.”
Pharmacists can help by encouraging their patients to take control of their asthma before problems occur, he says.
“I encourage pharmacists to learn more about their patients, and how they manage their asthma.
“It is important that they recognise the value in being proactive. If necessary this may include an asthma review with their doctor before the cold and flu season arrives.”
The latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that hospitalisations for children with asthma peak in late autumn and early winter.
This increase is due to the drop in temperatures and an increase in cases of the flu and colds, both of which are triggers for asthma flare-ups.