Asthma   COPD

Learn to Manage Your Asthma

Click the icons below for tips and tricks on better managing your asthma

Work & Asthma

Is your workplace triggering your asthma symptoms?

Doctors estimate that 25% of all working adults with asthma experience symptoms that were caused or worsened by a workplace trigger.1 These asthma triggers are found in workplaces from factories to hospitals, classrooms to offices. Knowing your triggers means you can try to minimise contact or avoid your exposure.

11 common workplace/school asthma symptom triggers

1. Dust
2. Animals
3. Mould
4. Pollen
5. Physically strenuous tasks
6. Smoke
7. Indoor and outdoor air pollutants
8. Cold air
9. Chemical fumes from industrial cleansers and paints
10. Strong-smelling perfumes and scented products used by co-workers
11. Stress and intense emotions

Be prepared.

Always have your quick-relief rescue inhaler (e.g. Ventolin®), also known as a reliever puffer, with you in the event of a workplace/school asthma attack.

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Nutrition & Asthma

What is good nutrition?

Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body. The New Zealand Ministry of Health says: ‘New Zealand’s great supply and variety of food means eating well can be healthy and fun.' 2

Try something new

Foods from different cultures provide you with great meal ideas, new tastes and the chance to try something fun and different.

Eat a variety of healthy foods each day

Include a variety of healthy foods from each of the four major food groups: (1) plenty of vegetables and fruit, (2) breads and cereals, preferably wholegrain, (3) milk and milk products in your diet, preferably reduced- or low-fat options and (4) lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or alternatives.

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Exercise & Asthma

Keep active.

Regular exercise is not only possible when your asthma is controlled, but helps improve:
• Heart and lung efficiency
• Muscle strength
• Endurance
• Flexibility and posture
• Ability to relax

Is exercise your asthma trigger?

Although exercise can be highly beneficial for your health and well-being, it can also be a key asthma trigger. Experiencing asthma symptoms while exercising is a sign of poor asthma control.

Regular exercise

See your doctor if you are experiencing asthma symptoms while exercising, as this may be a sign of worsening asthma control. Benefits of regular exercise frequently outweigh the risks.

7 tips for exercising with asthma

1. Your doctor may recommend using a quick acting ­reliever (e.g. Ventolin), also known as a reliever puffer before each workout.* Use as directed.
2. Warm up slowly before your workout.
3. Finish every workout with gentle cool-down exercises.
4. Slowly increase your exercise over time. Getting into shape takes effort, time and patience.
5. Stop exercising and immediately rest if you develop asthma symptoms. Use a quick acting ­reliever (e.g. Ventolin), also known as a reliever puffer, when asthma symptoms occur during your workout.*
6. When it's too cold or too hot outside, exercise indoors in a well-ventilated area..
7. Exercise inside in a well-ventilated area on days when the outdoor pollution or pollen counts are high.

* Seretide should not be used to relieve a sudden attack of breathlessness or wheezing. If you get this sort of attack you must use a quick acting inhaler (e.g. Ventolin) also known as a reliever puffer. Always carry your blue Ventolin reliever inhaler with you.

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Smoking & Asthma

Quitting smoking can improve lung function in as little as one week

Tobacco smoke can trigger asthma, as well as make your symptoms worse. The good news is that exposure to tobacco smoke is largely preventable.

The benefits of quitting smoking can start in hours and last for years.

Click here to see these benefits.

If smoking is one of your asthma triggers, the best thing you can do is quit while also avoiding exposure to second-and third-hand smoke.

5 tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones from tobacco smoke

1. If you smoke, quit.
2. If you can't quit, try to cut down and only smoke outdoors.
3. Never smoke around pregnant women, infants, children and teenagers.
4. Never allow smoking in your home or family car.
5. Avoid places where people are and would usually smoke as smoke toxins can get trapped in fabric, later triggering asthma symptoms. Unfortunately, you can’t completely eliminate second-hand smoke by opening windows, turning on a fan or air purifier, or smoking near the chimney.

Children and smoking

Second-hand smoke is particularly harmful for babies and children. Children exposed to second-hand smoke experience more chest infections, bronchitis, ear infections and asthma attacks. They are also at a higher risk for serious health problems.

Children with parents who smoke are more likely to have asthma. Among children with asthma, those who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to have worse asthma symptoms.

Pregnancy and smoking

Smoking during pregnancy greatly increases your risk of having a severe asthma episode, which could reduce the oxygen supply to your baby. You can help prevent asthma episodes while pregnant by quitting smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke.

If you've quit during pregnancy, don't start again after the baby is born. Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby, in your home or in your car.

Babies exposed to second-hand smoke are at a higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), allergies, ear infections and asthma. It's important that your child lives in a smoke-free home.

Help to quit smoking

Quitting smoking can dramatically improve your breathing. It may take a few attempts to quit for good, but there are a number of effective programmes that can help.

One of the most successful methods to quit smoking combines counselling with nicotine replacement therapy or smoking cessation medications. You can improve your chances further by taking advantage of helpful online support like:

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Daily life & Asthma

Pets and animals

Although pets bring great joy and companionship, they can also trigger asthma symptoms.
Pets and animals that trigger asthma symptoms include:
• Cats
• Dogs
• Rabbits
• Mice, rats and guinea pigs
• Birds
• Horses

Watch out for little-known animal triggers

People frequently assume fur or feathers trigger asthma symptoms, but people with asthma can be sensitive to animal:
• Dander or particles of skin
• Saliva
• Oil secretions
• Urine or faeces

In these cases, simply cleaning up the pet hair is not enough to eliminate asthma triggers.

Reduce your exposure

If possible, have your pet live outside the house. For example, a dog could live in the yard with a dog box for when it’s cold. If that’s not possible, keep the pet in a room where you don’t spend a lot of time. Remember that the pet’s fur or feathers will leave allergens behind when they leave a room.

If your doctor determines that your pet is a trigger, it’s then highly recommended that you find a new loving home for the animal. Over time, keeping the pet may increase the severity of your asthma.

"Allergy-Free" pets

There is no such thing as an allergy-free dog or cat. All furred animals naturally shed skin, dander, and secrete other allergens. Reducing your exposure to pet allergens is the most effective way to control asthma symptoms.

Fish, as they do not have hair, could be a great option for a person whose asthma is triggered by pets.

Keeping a pet

If you decide to keep your pet, minimise exposure with these tips:
• Have someone wash your pet twice a week.
• Remove carpeting in the home, starting in the bedroom.
• Clean the house, especially your bedroom, frequently, using a vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter or a central vacuum system with an outdoor exhaust.
• Use allergen-proof covers for mattress and pillows.
• Never allow animals in your bedroom.
• Use a HEPA* filter air cleaner in your bedroom.
• Keep pets off upholstery and other soft surfaces where allergens collect.

*Even without a pet, you may be susceptible to pet allergens from neighbours and friends. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is a type of filter capable capturing a significant amount of airborne particles. HEPA filter air cleaners are widely available at home appliance retailers.

Make Seretide part of your daily routine

Your doctor will let you know if Seretide is the right medication for you. If you are eligible to receive Seretide, ensure that you follow your doctor’s directions and take your Seretide twice a day, every day, even when you feel fine. Make Seretide part of your daily routine like when you brush your teeth morning and night.

How many puffs do you have left?

Seretide has a dose counter so you know exactly how many puffs you have left. Remember to get another prescription from your doctor in plenty of time so you don’t run the risk of missing a dose.

How are you tracking?

Test your level of asthma control regularly to see how you’re tracking. If you score less than 20 on the Asthma Control Test, speak to your healthcare professional about the appropriate asthma treatment to improve this. Take the Asthma Control Test now, it only takes a minute.

Make sure your asthma inhaler technique is as good as possible

Check your technique with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Click here for illustrated instructions on how to take Seretide.

Follow your asthma action plan

If you don’t have an asthma action plan, ask your healthcare professional to write one with you.

Always carry your blue Ventolin reliever inhaler with you.

If you have your asthma under control, you shouldn’t need to use your reliever more than two times per week. Talk to your doctor about how you can improve your level of asthma control.

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Travel & Asthma

6 tips for safe travel

The key to safe travel is careful planning and preparation. Here are 6 tips for travelling with asthma.
1. Contact a travel clinic or your doctor six to eight weeks before you go. This allows time to get any vaccinations you may need.
2. Ask your doctor to assess any health risk based on your travel itinerary and current health condition.
3. Make sure you have enough asthma treatment to last during your travel. These would include: (1) Your Seretide daily maintenance medication which you would continue to take twice a day every day and (2) Your quick acting inhaler (e.g. Ventolin) also known as a reliever puffer.
4. Clearly mark all your medications and carry a copy of the doctor’s prescription with you.
5. Carry your asthma inhalers in two different pieces of luggage in case one gets stolen or lost.
6. Arrange travel insurance before you go. In some countries the cost of paying for medical bills is very high so travel insurance covers you if you get ill overseas. Your travel agent can advise you about buying travel insurance.

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We Answer Your Questions

Read through the most frequently asked questions about asthma and its treatment.