Living well with asthma and allergies over summer can be challenging for patients but by arming them with the correct advice you can help alleviate their symptoms and ensure they stay safe.
National Asthma Council Australia CEO, Siobhan Brophy, is urging health care professionals to discuss holiday plans with their patients, particularly those with children who have asthma.
‘With record-breaking temperatures predicted across Australia this summer, combined with extreme weather changes, pollen and even bushfire smoke, summer holidays can pose a high-risk for asthma and allergy flare-ups.
‘In addition, with more Australians travelling away from home, whether locally or overseas, there are extra challenges for people with asthma and allergies and more precautions required,’ says Ms Brophy.
Health professionals are advised to talk to their patients about how to prevent summer asthma and be emergency ready, especially if they are visiting international, rural or remote locations.
‘Remind your patients to follow their treatment and management regimens to better control their condition and to take special care to avoid their known triggers, particularly in unfamiliar locations,’ she says.
Health professionals are reminded to raise the following points with their patients who have asthma and allergies prior to the holiday period so they can keep well and continue to breathe easier:
- Check that their asthma is under control and they have an up-to-date written asthma action plan and are following
- Talk to them about what medications they are taking to prevent/reduce their
- Remind them to always have a reliever inhaler with them and to take sufficient quantities of up-to-date asthma and hay fever medication to last the duration of their
- Ask if they know about online PollenForecast alerts for high-risk pollen days, and Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) alerts for dust storms, thunderstorms and bushfire
- Caution them to take special care on windy, hot and thunderstorm days and to stay indoors with the windows closed and to turn air-conditioning to recirculate where
- If they are travelling overseas, provide them with a letter outlining the history and severity of their asthma, allergies and
- Advise them to check whether their medical insurance specifically covers their family member’s asthma.
You can also refer patients to the Council’s Sensitive Choice program, which has a series of factsheets on staying safe in hot weather and during bushfire season, minimising allergies from Christmas trees, and what to do when travelling with asthma and allergies.
The National Asthma Council also has a wide range of resources and information for health professionals including how-to-videos, information papers and clinical guidelines.