Christmas survival guide to beat asthma risks

Who doesn’t love the Christmas break? Bare feet and the family winding down after another busy year.

But if your children have asthma, the National Asthma Council Australia says the holiday season can bring its own hidden dangers. Between hot weather, pollen and bushfire smoke, summer holidays are a high-risk season for asthma and allergy flare-ups. And that’s not to mention the perils of dusty tinsel, smoky barbecues and last year’s mouldy Christmas tree.

With mums and dads firmly in mind, the Council’s Sensitive Choice program has prepared a series of fact sheets that cover the basics parents need to follow to keep kids – and themselves – breathing easy during the holidays and summer heat. Asthma Council CEO Siobhan Brophy says to start by visiting your family doctor early, having a written asthma action plan for your child and stocking up on medications.

“Christmas shopping needs to be about more than just gifts and pavlova. Make sure you have relievers and preventers on hand – both at home and when you go out. You don’t want to be hunting around for a doctor or a chemist when you get to the beach or out in the bush,” said Siobhan.

  • Stick to a daily medication routine by timing it with kid’s toothbrush time so it isn’t forgotten in the free flow of holiday lifestyle. Make sure medication is kept in a cool place, not a hot car.
  • Check online PollenForecast alerts for high-risk pollen days, and Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) for dust storms, thunderstorms and bushfire smoke and remember to keep kids indoors under recirculated fans or air-conditioning at high risk times.

We know that when it comes to the family home, pre-Christmas cleaning just can’t be avoided.

“Dust is a dirty word for anyone with asthma. It’s important to make sure homes and even Christmas decorations that have been in storage are free from dust and mould. Also, be aware that when you clean or vacuum, this can stir up allergens that can trigger a reaction in you or your children”, says Siobhan.

Finally, mums and dads, don’t forget to look after yourselves. Busy adults with asthma are just as likely to feel the symptoms as kids.

For more information on healthy living with asthma, check out the Sensitive Choice website