Journalist, historian and naturalist living in Perth's eastern suburbs.
Winter warning for respiratory conditions
To coincide with World Asthma Day, Asthma WA has issued a winter warning for people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mum helps her child to use an inhaler.
World Asthma Day this year will be held on Wednesday, May 5. Asthma WA CEO Donna Rendell urged people to continue the good hygiene habits and social distancing they had adhered to during the COVID-19 pandemic as wintery weather brought with it greater risks for people with respiratory conditions.
Ms Rendell said Australia has the highest prevalence of asthma for adults aged 18-45 in the world and urged anybody with a respiratory condition to get ready for the colder weather.
Asthma WA provides a range of free services to help people with asthma and COPD.
She said that good hand hygiene, social distancing and getting a flu shot were important factors in reducing avoidable hospital visits. According to Ms Rendell asthma is a respiratory disease that needs to be taken seriously and if someone was having difficulty breathing, it was critical to start asthma first aid and to call 000.
She urged people with respiratory conditions to make sure they had an up-to-date asthma and/or COPD action plan and to take their prescribed medication.
Perth people with asthma or COPD are being warned to be prepared for winter.
It was also important to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccination when it's available. People with questions about asthma or COPD could speak to somebody at Asthma WA on 9289 3600 or speak to their doctor for a review and to update their action plan.
Ms Rendell said the impact of asthma was more significant than many people realised. One in nine Australians have asthma, which can have a significant effect on people's lives, including their mental health, absenteeism, and stressful hospital visits, usually due to inadequate management.
Free services offered by Asthma WA can help reduce the number of hospitalisations and improve quality of life through education and empowerment of people to take control of their respiratory health.
In the last 10 years, the prevalence of asthma increased in the Australian population from 9.9 per cent in 2007 to 2008 to 11.2 per cent in 2017 to 2018, that's around 2.7 million people or one in nine Australians who have asthma. In WA, that equates to 237,100 people with asthma.
It's important to have an action plan ready for the increased risk over winter.
Indigenous Australians are 1.6 times more likely to have asthma than non-Indigenous Australians and asthma is more common in people living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. It's also more prevalent in people living in inner regional areas compared with people living in major cities or outer regional and remote areas.
The majority of unscheduled healthcare visits to GPs and hospitals and adverse outcomes for asthma, including death, are preventable with current treatment. According to Asthma WA, many asthma patients are not using appropriate medications.
For example, they rely on reliever medication for symptomatic relief without using regular preventer medication to avoid symptoms occurring and up to 90 per cent of asthma patients aren't using their inhalers correctly.
Only 28 per cent of asthma patients have an Asthma Action Plan and in children aged five to 14, asthma is a leading reason why children miss school. Overall, Australians see GPs with regards to their asthma on average 5.6 times per year.