Latest Asthma Facts and Figures - 22/09/2014

New Zealand has some of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world.

Kiwi houses are some of the coldest and dampest in the world. Consequently New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, an estimated 600,000 Kiwis have asthma, including one in four children. While asthma has no cure, significant reduction in children’s asthma symptoms can be achieved by changing the indoor environment and reducing the triggers for asthma.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is the narrowing of the airways which prevents air from fully leaving the lungs, as a result, restricting the capacity for complete inhalation. Inflammation of the lungs bronchial tubes is generally recognised as the cause of this narrowing, resulting the familiar symptoms of:

• Chest tightness.
• Chronic coughing.
• Shortness of breath.
• Wheezing.
• Have more trouble falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest.
• Worsening allergy symptoms like persistent runny nose, dark circles under your eyes or itchy, inflamed skin.

Some people experience an asthma attack only when triggered by stimuli, while others experience the symptoms continuously at varying degrees of intensity.

Common Asthma Triggers

If you are asthmatic, triggers usually have an effect on you straight away but can sometimes take effect slowly over several hours. Knowing what activates your asthma means you can try to avoid the triggers, such as:

• Cold and flu viruses
• Temperature changes
• Allergies
• Chemicals and dust
• Households sprays
• Cigarette smoke
• Exercise and activity
• Emotion

The most common asthma-producing allergies are related to:

House Dust Mites
They live off the flakes of skin we shed and we all have them in our homes, in furniture, carpets and especially in our mattresses and pillows. Their waste products are tiny, float in the air and can provoke an allergic reaction when inhaled.

Animals
Cats are the second major source of indoor allergens.

Pollens
Pollens can come from grasses, trees and shrubs. It can act as an irritant rather than an allergen.

Moulds, Fungals, Spores
Toxic mould can cause sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia when its spores are inhaled.

Fumes
Triggers in the air include not only factory smoke and car exhaust fumes, but also cigarette smoke; fly sprays, strong perfumes and aerosol cleaning sprays.

Medicating New Zealanders with Asthma

  • Over 500,000 New Zealanders take asthma medication
  • One in seven children (14%) take medication for asthma. This represents an estimated 107,000 children (aged 2–14 years) living with asthma.
  • One in nine adults (11%) have been diagnosed with asthma and are taking medication for this condition, roughly 389,000 adults.
  • In New Zealand it costs about $1,200 per day to treat a child in hospital for asthma.
  • $800 million is the conservative estimate of the annual economic burden of asthma.
  • In 2011 asthma was responsible for 8,000 hospitalisations and 2,800 day cases. 3,000 hospitalisations (or 37.5 percent) were for children under five years old.

The HRV ventilation link

The positive pressure environment in the home removes airborne pollutants and moisture by forcing stale indoor air out through the natural gaps, cracks and seals in the house. With the change in season, air filtration this is more important than ever. Through the process of dilution, the air in your home becomes purer – as stale, polluted air is replaced with filtered air.

• Asthma sufferers enjoy a drier environment – less moisture results in less dust mites and mould.
• The home is drier and easier to heat.
• Even temperatures are created throughout the whole home.
• Filtered air removes allergens and particulates.

Using the latest home filtration technology exclusive to HRV, a SETA Diffuser Filter gives an even higher level of protection against airborne allergens and captures even microscopic particles.

The world-leading SETA Filters on an HRV ventilation system go through a four-stage process capturing pollen, spores and bacteria before they enter our homes

  • Graduated density fabric traps the tiniest particles.
  • Fibres are electrostatically charged to attract smaller particles.
  • A unique SETA nano-fibre layer with fibres 500 times thinner than a human hair trap allergens – this is also infused with natural antibacterial qualities.
  • Finally,optional SETA Diffuser Filters in the individual rooms of your home give an extra level of antibacterial protection.

These diffusers can simply be added onto the room vents on all HRV ventilation solutions, and act as the last point of contact before the air enters your home, for an even cleaner, healthier invironment.HRV is approved by the National Asthma Council Australia, and the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, as part of the Sensitive Choice programme.

This programme approves products that are committed to reducing asthma and allergy triggers – and HRV ventilation products definitely are.

Find out more about why you need a ventilation system here.

Get a free home assessment today!