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Thread: Asthma in Winter

  1. #1
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    Default Asthma in Winter

    Hi everyone, we have a 3 year old who is prone to cough due to his sensitive airways. Our doctor has not diagnosed him as asthmatic because according to him, a child cannot be diagnosed as asthmatic until the age of 5. However, he did mention that it is possible given that we as parents were asthmatic when we were young. Fingers crossed but it's good to be mentally prepared.

    My concern is, should we give up this whole idea of looking for jobs in NZ or even moving to NZ because of this? Our doctor didn't mention anything about avoiding air-conditioned places or cold countries. I would like to hear whether anyone has an experience of asthma or sensitive airways and how do you cope in the cooler months, especially Winter?

    Any advice is appreciated. Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jsquare View Post
    Hi everyone, we have a 3 year old who is prone to cough due to his sensitive airways. Our doctor has not diagnosed him as asthmatic because according to him, a child cannot be diagnosed as asthmatic until the age of 5. However, he did mention that it is possible given that we as parents were asthmatic when we were young. Fingers crossed but it's good to be mentally prepared.

    My concern is, should we give up this whole idea of looking for jobs in NZ or even moving to NZ because of this? Our doctor didn't mention anything about avoiding air-conditioned places or cold countries. I would like to hear whether anyone has an experience of asthma or sensitive airways and how do you cope in the cooler months, especially Winter?

    Any advice is appreciated. Thank you very much.
    The truth is that if you can afford to live in a modern home or an older home with updated windows and insulation, your child probably won't find it aggravating. Keep in mind, I AM NOT A DOCTOR. However, New Zealand isn't really a "cold" country. There are parts that are colder than others and it does depend on where you're originally from. I'm from California and find it cold but someone from Newfoundland probably wouldn't find it as cold. The problem in NZ is not that it is exceptionally cold, it is that many, many houses are not adequate for the climate. I lived for almost a decade in the "sunniest region" of NZ but the house we lived in was only insulated in the roof, had aluminum windows not properly fitted, no extractor fans, really really bad condensation, and concrete block walls. This made it cold, damp, prone to mould on the walls, floors, ceilings, and windows, and expensive to heat. It was often colder inside the house than outside in the winter. Many, many landlords aren't interested in remedying the problem with these houses in any extensive way.

    If you have a child with potential breathing problems, you will probably be fine in New Zealand if you keep this in mind and have the means to avoid living in houses like this that are all too common here. Unfortunately, if you cannot afford to be picky about the housing, then your house could aggravate your child's condition. Google NZ Houses and Asthma and you will see that it is a big problem.

    edited to add: Depending on the region and area you will live, you also have to keep in mind agricultural burns in winter create a smoggy layer on many days that could be aggravating as well. This is a good site to check monitored air quality data: https://www.lawa.org.nz/explore-data/air-quality/
    Last edited by kiwieagle; 26th February 2020 at 08:48 AM.

  3. #3
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    I have asthma, which only started six years ago now I'm an older person. (I didn't know that this could happen, but it can, unfortunately!) And there aren't others in the family. I live in the UK, where the temperatures are fairly comparable with those in NZ, and there are lots of us asthmatics here, who live with the condition, with the help of correct medication.

    I suggest you should look on the internet for more information about asthma. The possible triggers for it vary from one person to another - for some, it can be allergies, for some, it can be 'dirty' air (e.g. exhaust fumes, or dust, or smoke), for some, it can be weather conditions, and for some, it can be stress or emotional states (and all those things are just some examples among the many possibilities). So you need to get to know your son's own personal condition, which probably will not be the same as for other people you know. This will be why the doctor didn't mention specific things - nobody knows until it becomes clear after careful observation. But going back to your mention of worrying about a colder climate - one of my own triggers is HOT weather, so I tend to be better in winter. There is no point in overthinking about the boy's health, as you and he will just have to react to each situation as you come to it, and there isn't any way to predict exactly what is coming. And - important point, this - there are a whole range of medications which can be prescribed, if and when he needs them. Having asthma doesn't mean you have to avoid everything.

    One thing which in the past has been widespread in NZ, and which has aggravated breathing problems for some people, is that in the under-insulated older houses, condensation tended to allow mould to form, and the spores can be an irritant. However, newer builds have to meet higher standards, and so the possibility can be avoided.

  4. #4
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    Thank you Kiwieagle and JandM for sharing your experiences. I really appreciate this forum where there are so many helpful people sharing their experiences and giving suggestions.

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