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Expert: Kiwis too cavalier about asthma

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/05/2017
A group has urged parents to prepare ahead of an expected spike in asthma attacks © iStock/Getty Images A group has urged parents to prepare ahead of an expected spike in asthma attacks

Urgent action is needed to address asthma levels throughout New Zealand, a Otago University professor says.

The significant socio-economic and ethnicity differences in people who suffer from the disease shows that Kiwis are too cavalier about it, and are tending to ignore it, according to Professor Jim Reid.

"It is a serious, preventable disease that needs to be controlled."

One in five Maori and Pacific Island children have been diagnosed with asthma, an Otago University study shows.

That compared to just 15 per cent of the child population and 11 per cent of the adult population.

Those living in poverty are nearly four times more likely to be hospitalised from it.

"I think because asthma is so common, people have become a bit cavalier about it, it seems like every kid on the block has it, so it tends to get minimised, but last year 70 people died from asthma," Prof Reid says.

New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of asthma in the world.

"There are few asthma symptoms that can't be controlled so it's important that people suffering get diagnosed and treated, " Prof Reid said.

May 2 is World Asthma Day.

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