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08 Feb 2012
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Asthma is a chronic condition that is triggered by allergens or hypersensitivities, resulting in inflammation and narrowing of the airways.

It occurs in adults, but often starts in childhood. It is estimated that 1 in 4 New Zealand children suffer from asthma.

In the event of an asthma attack, breathing will become difficult and laboured, particularly exhaling.

Asthma attacks can range in severity, with severe attacks being life threatening. It is important that emergency care is sought immediately following the onset of an asthma attack.

  • Family history of asthma
  • Other allergies
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke in the womb or as a child
  • Being born prematurely
  • Having bronchiolitis as a child


  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath


  • Medication (preventers, inhalers, spacers)
  • Asthma management plan created for you by your GP


  • Stay fit
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid triggers


With proper care asthma can be managed. If you have any of the above symptoms, contact your general practitioner.




Video: Understanding Asthma



Video: Living with and Managing Asthma



Video: NHS – Asthma


Healthination – What is Asthma?




The Asthma Foundation
Health Navigator NZ – Asthma
Children: Space to Breathe Programme


International – Factfiles



NZ Guidelines Groups
The New Zealand Medical Journal
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences



The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic, with links to local and international resources that may be of interest.  We do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date.

You should always, however, seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner first.



Updated April 2012
Image source: Wikipedia – Bronchi