Managing asthma key to bringing down statistics in NZ

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

It's World Asthma Day and it's been revealed that NZ's asthma and respiratory statistics are among the worst in the world.

A world record held by NZ, however, it's not one we should celebrate.

Alistair Harsant from the Asthma Foundation NZ says, “It's a disease that's out there, most people don't realise how many people are asthmatics, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthmatics globally, which is very surprising for a small country.”

Dr Lily Fraser works for Turuki Hauora in Mangere and says, “It's a community with a high rate of asthma sufferers, caused partly by the state of some houses in this area. The cold, damp conditions affect people with asthma.”

Asthma does not discriminate. It'll attack anyone and everyone.

“I have asthma. I take daily medication in the morning and at night to keep the illness at bay. I can do almost everything, despite the asthma,” says Dr Fraser.

Harsant says, “I am also one of those people, I am part Māori and I've been an asthmatic all my life as well, so it's something we're trying to get out not just across NZ as a whole but we really wanna target the Pacific and Māori cultures.”

The worldwide theme for today is, "You can control your asthma".

Dr Fraser cautions suffers, “Don't let asthma be a burden or a problem, or stress you out. Just take the appropriate medications, ensure your home is warm, and give up smoking, all those things that will help to keep you healthy and comfortable.”