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Childhood asthma and the school holidays

Childhood asthma and the school holidays

Asthma is a common illness in New Zealand, affecting one in six kiwi kids.

Over the school holidays children are often exposed to many varying environments, which is different to what they usually would on a normal school week. Doing things like going away on family trips, being looked after by other caregivers in new environments, or attending sleep overs at friends’ homes, can mean that your child is exposed to their asthma triggers.

“A trigger is something that makes asthma worse or brings on an attack. Knowing as much as you can about your child’s asthma triggers can help you to reduce exposure to them, making your child’s asthma easier to handle,” said Head of Education and Research for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, Teresa Demetriou.

There are many ways that you can prepare your child for these different environments to ensure that their asthma remains well managed. We’ve put together a list of tips to help your child stay happy and well over the school holidays:
• Before heading away on a holiday or before your child has a sleepover at a friend’s house, assess that their asthma is well controlled.
• Make sure that anywhere your child is staying is cigarette/smoke free.
• Make sure there are no pets in the living environments, if your child is allergic to them.
• While it is not possible to ensure any space is dust-free, taking their own sleeping bag or other bedding can help reduce a child’s exposure and possible symptoms.
• When heading away ensure that your child has enough medication and that it is easily accessible.

If your child is being taken care of by another caregiver:
• Ensure that the caregiver is aware of your child’s asthma and what to do if their asthma gets worse. It’s a good idea to give them a copy of your child’s Asthma Action Plan and talk them through using their medication.
• Ensure that your child feels comfortable enough with their caregiver to ask for assistance if they start to experience any asthma symptoms.
• Make sure the caregiver is aware of possible activities that may be an issue e.g. pillow fights, hide-and-seek in high pollen areas.
Asthma can be scary when it affects your child, but the good news is with some learning and preparation, it can be well managed.

The Sensitive Choice® Programme his managed by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ in New Zealand, and has helped people to reduce their allergy symptoms for many years. If you are one of the thousands of New Zealanders with asthma or allergy symptoms, visit the Sensitive Choice® website for products and services that may be a better choice for you and your family.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ provide a free resource for parents and caregivers of children with asthma, visit


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