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Increased electricity prices=more asthma hospital admissions

11 April 2013

Increased electricity prices = increased asthma hospital admissions

A University of Canterbury study has highlighted a significant relationship between the lack of home heating and asthma hospital admissions. The study shows a clear correlation between school holidays and asthma hospital admissions.

“Our respiratory community tell us that in winter and when electricity prices increase they find it harder to heat their homes,” says Dr Kyle Perrin, Asthma Foundation Medical Adviser. "When kids are in cold, damp houses during the holidays their respiratory illnesses and admissions to hospital increase. Poor access to health care can often prevent these illnesses from being treated adequately."

New Zealand has one of the highest asthma prevalence rates among developed countries. The direct medical costs to the country of treating asthma have been estimated at $125 million a year and, indirectly, $700 million a year.

"Reducing poverty, better housing, and improving access to primary health care can all help lower these admissions" says Dr Perrin.

“Some people may ask whether we can afford to do these things in tough economic times; the real question is, how can we not?” says Angela Francis, Chief Executive of the Asthma Foundation.

About 1 in 4 New Zealand children has asthma. New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, following the UK. About 800 000 New Zealanders are affected by asthma and other respiratory conditions.

About the Asthma Foundation
The Asthma Foundation is New Zealand’s sector authority on asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

We advocate to government and raise awareness of respiratory illnesses, fund research for better treatments and educate on best practice. We provide resources on our website and support our affiliated asthma societies and trusts in providing education, support and advice.

For more information, visit the Asthma Foundation’s website www.asthmafoundation.org.nz

ENDS

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