Imagine this scenario – you’re out and about when one of your children or their friends starts coughing, wheezing, and they’re finding it hard to breathe. Would you know what to do?
These are common symptoms that take place when asthma is getting worse. You may have a reliever inhaler on hand, but what if the attack is severe and a reliever inhaler isn’t working?
In New Zealand, it’s very common for children below the age of 15 years old to be admitted to hospital or after hours for the treatment of asthma. In 2015, over 3,500 children in this age group were admitted to hospital, and some of these will have had a potentially life-threatening attack.
The way to manage asthma better and avoid preventable hospitalisations is by having a plan. An Asthma Action Plan tells you what to do when asthma improves or gets worse, and the amount and type of medicine required.
“It is important for children with asthma to have an up-to-date Asthma Action Plan to help ensure their condition is well managed. Well managed asthma reduces the risk of suffering from an asthma attack,” says Letitia O’Dwyer, Chief Executive for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ.
‘My Asthma’, a new app developed by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, is a beneficial tool to assist with asthma management in children and adolescents. The app has just been updated with a customisable Child Asthma Action Plan, to be completed with a health professional and saved to a smart device such as a mobile phone.
The digital Asthma Action Plans can then be accessed at any time through the users’ smart device, and easily shared by email to other contacts such as caregivers, teachers, and sports coaches.
“’My Asthma’ app helps to ensure that Action Plans are available to anyone looking after a child with asthma, so they know what to do if asthma symptoms worsen,” says O’Dwyer.
The free ‘My Asthma’ app was launched on World Asthma Day, 2 May 2017, and is available to download in Google Play or Apple App Store.