From Monday, August 31, to Sunday, September 6, is Asthma Awareness Week and the Asthma Foundation is encouraging all of the 500,000 diagnosed asthmatics to get an annual asthma check up with their GP now while they are well
This will ensure that they are given advice and support and to know the signs before their asthma flares up. Many asthmatics visit their GP only when they are sick, meaning during the visit they are tired and stressed at being unwell, or having a sick child who cannot breathe. Chronic conditions such as asthma have considerable knowledge demands and can be challenging to manage.
In New Zealand, one in nine adults and one in seven children take asthma medication. For good asthma control it is important to use preventer medication as prescribed, to visit a health professional regularly, and to get an asthma management plan in place.
For Kate Hyde-Richards, a Tuakau resident and chronic asthmatic, having a plan helps her manage and recognise when her asthma is deteriorating, before it gets to an emergency situation.
Diagnosed from birth, Kate struggled with her asthma when she was younger, with spring being an incredibly hard time for her.
“The warmer weather and freshly mown grass are my triggers – I need to make sure that I have taken my preventatives at the beginning of each day.”
Kate says that triggers are personal and that certain Warmer weather a trigger for Asthmatics WITH many New Zealanders looking forward to the warmer weather, asthmatics are currently preparing for the triggers that spring usually brings.
things can set off asthma at any time – it is all about learning and maintaining it yourself.
Kate’s asthma has also cost her a career in professional car spray painting, with the fumes and fine particles of paint affecting her airways.
“After I had finished studying motorsport, I landed an apprenticeship to become a professional car spray painter – this was a dream come true for me. I hadn’t been in hospital for my asthma since I was 12 years old, and within three months, I found myself being collected in an ambulance after suffering an attack.”
“I took all the right measures and I tried my best to make it work, however, the fine particles still managed to find their way into my lungs. I was absolutely gutted to give it up.”
Having to then revaluate her career options, the bubbly 22 year old was offered a role as a relief milker and enjoyed learning the ropes of the dairy sector.
She now has her sights set on a career in aviation security and is currently in the process of preparing herself for the role.
“Asthma may have won the last round, but I am not going to let it set me back again. I feel there is much more knowledge and support now compared to when I was a child, people shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. I used to let it hold me back, but not anymore. Getting the right advice, the right preventatives and knowing your triggers will help you enjoy life much more.”
For more info: www. asthmafoundation.org.nz