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Another death from asthma one too many

20 August 2013

Another death from asthma one too many

The team at the Asthma Foundation are saddened to hear of the death of another of our young people from asthma.

“People are surprised to learn that asthma can kill – many people regard asthma as a mild disease that causes the odd episode of wheezy breathing,” says Dr Tristram Ingham, medical adviser at the Asthma Foundation.

The Foundation has been stressing the seriousness of asthma for a long time. Figures show that at least 52 people every year die from asthma.

Dr Ingham says, “We are asking New Zealanders who have children with asthma to make sure they keep using their medication as prescribed and keep their asthma under control at all times. Don't just wait until your child’s asthma is out of control to do something about it. We recommend parents consider getting a child asthma management plan completed with a health professional. The plan is designed to help parents manage their child’s asthma and recognise when it is deteriorating before it becomes an emergency.”

“At least one death per week every year from asthma is too many. The Asthma Foundation is focussing on prevention. To support this we will continue to fund research into treatments and educating on best practice,” said Angela Francis, chief executive of the Asthma Foundation.

Contact Cindy Borrie, communications consultant, 0274 433 905 for further information.
Dr Tristram Ingham and Angela Francis are available to be interviewed. Please contact Cindy Borrie.

Notes for editors

1. One in four New Zealand children and one in six adults has asthma.
2. New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, following the UK.
3. People still die from asthma, with 79 deaths in 2006, 61 in 2007 and 65 in 2008.
4. About 800,000 New Zealanders are affected by asthma and other respiratory conditions.
5. The prevalence of asthma is similar for Māori and non-Māori children. However, Māori children with asthma tend to have more severe symptoms, require hospitalisation for asthma almost twice as often as non-Māori children, and require more time off school because of asthma.
6. It is estimated that 550,000 school days in New Zealand are lost each year due to asthma.
7. New Zealand’s economic burden of asthma is conservatively estimated at over $800,000,000 per year.
8. Asthma affects approximately 235 million people worldwide and the prevalence is rising.
9. Asthma causes an estimated 250,000 deaths annually worldwide.

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

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