World Asthma Day Webinar FAQ

Question 1:

What can people be doing now in preparation for winter and whilst we deal with the COVID-19 crisis?

  1. My doctor has recommended I wear a face mask when in public due to my chronic asthma. How affective are these in preventing the transmission of the virus to people like me?

    The use of a specially constructed mask, known as N95 or P2 mask is recommended for people who have symptoms to protect others. However, some people are being advised, and have indicated they feel more comfortable, to wear masks when out in public. On these occasions, it is reasonable to do so but to remain vigilant about the other more important measures to reduce spread, like frequent handwashing, keeping surfaces clean, respecting the social distancing advice. Where the use of a mask can be problematic, is where it results in people touching their face more, to adjust the mask or take it off and on. If using a mask, people should not consider it a reason to relax their other protective behaviours.

  1. I’ve heard asthma sufferers are at no greater risk if they prove positive for the COVID-19 virus. Could the steroids in their medication provide some protection or am I a wishful 75 year old?

    Inhaled corticosteroids are protective in reducing asthma flare-ups; by decreasing the sensitivity and inflammation which makes a person less sensitive to triggers for their asthma, which may mean they are also less likely to have a more severe asthma flare-up if a person with asthma contracts any virus. The inhaled steroids protect you from worsening asthma, and not a more severe case of COVID-19. Oral corticosteroids are not recommended by the doctors on the webinar to treat COVID-19, but they are recommended to treat a severe asthma flare-up if this is part of your usual written Asthma Action Plan or if your doctor prescribes them for asthma.

  1. I’m asthmatic and during the first weeks of the pandemic shut down in Australia, people were buying Ventolin puffers en masse (ie panic buying). This meant for me that I was unable to purchase Ventolin at the time- I was fortunate and prudent enough to have backup supply at home. How do we ensure Asthmatics maintain access to essential medication like Ventolin and ensure supply, during a challenging pandemic situation?

    We see that our role at Asthma Australia is to reach out to consumers to educate them on how best to equip themselves to manage all situations, including the unforeseeable times of pandemics and bushfires. Having seen the essential medicine supply issues unfold over bushfires and COVID-19, we also acknowledge our role to advocate for appropriate regulation and the reassurance of the supply chain. We’re happy to report that we’ve enacted both of those roles over the past months.

  1. I am a 52 year old woman with a thirty year history of asthma which can be triggered by colds, flu, hay fever, cold weather, night air, sinus infections and stress. I work in the childcare sector. My GP has advised me to take extra precautions with social distancing because of my condition in conjunction with my age. I have been advised not to return to work at this time since it is impossible and impractical to maintain social distancing with young children. Do you have any further advice you can offer in relation to this? Thank you

    Your doctor has provided you with good sound advice. You may wish to address your situation directly with your employer and discuss how they can support you through this time.

  1. Is Flutiform safe to use long term? Are there any side effects to cause concern?Flutiform is a combination preventer with inhaled corticosteroid and a long acting reliever. Preventers are safe to use every day even when well to prevent asthma symptoms and flare-ups.

    Flutiform is a combination preventer with inhaled corticosteroid and a long acting reliever. Preventers are safe to use every day even when well to prevent asthma symptoms and flare-ups.

  1. Can you please clarify poor asthma symptom control i.e. having symptoms more than twice a week or twice a month?Good asthma control is defined as:
  •  Able to do all your activities
  •  No symptoms during the night or on waking
  •  Having daytime symptoms no more than two days per week
  •  Need for reliever no more than two days per week (not including using your reliever before exercise)
  1. I’ve been living in the Eastern sub of Melbourne for 15 years. I’m on a preventer and allergic to dogs. Question: What is the best or better place to live in Australia?

    Moving may not have a long-term effect on your asthma. Many people with asthma have an underlying allergy or sensitivity to triggers. Though a different climate may help in the short term; over the long term you may still develop sensitivities to the new environment. Before making a costly move, discuss your allergy concerns with your doctor as there may be other treatment options for you.

  1. I cannot use sanitiser as it is a trigger, but also if a colleague uses it near me it also triggers my asthma. I am a teacher/librarian and cannot wash my hands every 5 minutes what options do I have?

    This would be a good question to discuss with an Asthma Educator by ringing 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) to help address your specific needs. However, if you are reacting to sanitiser scent, is your asthma under control?It may be worth seeing your doctor for an asthma review appointment to discuss your asthma control over the last few weeks; your preventer use, is it the right medication for you; and check your device technique.

  1. Can you also get a pneumonia vaccine if you have severe asthma?
  2. Should severe asthmatics also get the pneumococcal vaccine?

    The pneumococcal vaccination is available to children, adolescents and adults who have certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk.Included in this category of medical conditions is severe asthma in adults (requiring frequent medical consultations or the use of multiple medications). Talk to your doctor about when to get these doses.Pneumococcal vaccine is also:

Question 2:

Are there additional or different ways to prepare for winter and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 if you are part of the vulnerable population?

  1. If I have mild asthma and it is controlled is COVID-19 any riskier for me than any other person without asthma

    There is no specific data as yet to suggest that people with asthma are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that people with asthma have a higher risk of experiencing serious illness if they get it. Nevertheless, we encourage people with asthma and their families and communities to do everything they can to protect themselves and others. One of the best things you can do to reduce your risk is to optimise your asthma control.

Question 4:

Do oral steroids negatively impact the outcome for people with COVID-19?

If so, what does that mean for people with asthma?

  1. Please comment on use of Biologics in asthma. Also, I am taking a monoclonal antibody for neuroendocrine cancer. Is this likely to enhance or worsen my asthma control?

    Biologicals or monoclonal antibody therapies in asthma are used in diagnosed severe asthma; they are a ground-breaking area as they target pathways in the immune system that cause the problematic airway inflammation seen in asthma. They are indicated for use in severe eosinophilic asthma and severe allergic asthma. To be eligible for monoclonal antibody therapy under the PBS, a patient must be under the care of the same specialist for at least a six-month period, or less if they have received a diagnosis by a multidisciplinary asthma clinic team. With regards to the monoclonal antibody you are taking for neuroendocrine cancer, we can’t answer this, it is a question for your oncologist or specialist involved in your oncology care team, in saying that, have you noticed a change in asthma control since taking the monoclonal for your cancer? If so, this will need to be discussed with your treating team.

  1. With the pneumonia vaccine, I have had 2 injection quite some time ago. Am I still protected?

    There are five different recommendations regarding how many doses an adult should receive depending on newly identified or pre-existing medical conditions. We recommend discussing your situation with your doctor and asking if the 2 doses you have received are sufficient. https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccine-preventable-diseases/pneumococcal-disease

  1. Why does oesphageal reflux become worse when asthma medication is increased.

    The bronchodilators (smooth muscle relaxants) in relievers and combination preventers relax muscles. An increase in dose may lead to relaxing not just airway muscles, but the stomach ones as well. If this is occurring, discuss your medications and symptoms with your doctor or regular treating team.

Question 5:

What steps can people take to manage the impact of anxiety on their asthma?

  1. What are some of the ways anxiety is linked to asthma?

    According to the NAC Australian Asthma Handbook – Psychological factors may trigger asthma symptoms. High levels of asthma-related fear and panic can worsen asthma symptoms. However, anxiety and hyperventilation attacks can also be mistaken for asthma. Several studies have reported an association between stress and asthma flare-up and stress and anxiety can contribute or influence adherence to medications. You can read more about how to manage your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic here https://asthma.org.au/blog/mental-health-and-covid/

Question 6:

Are there shortages of asthma medication and is it more difficult to access medication? If so, what options are available to people with asthma?

  1. Tilade has been hard to get

    Tilade is not as common as some other asthma medications and as such, pharmacies may not regularly stock it.

  1. I suffer from severe brittle asthma and I am currently on the Fasenra injection. I have heard it is now on the PBS. Is that the injection or the pen?

    Fasenra injection is available on the PBS through an application process with your specialist. There is an initial application and approximately six-monthly continuation applications if the medication is working for you.

  1. Now that pharmacists can label and record salbutamol supply at the moment, I would like to think that all pharmacists would label the device for ages over 6years such as: shake well and inhale 2-12 puffs via spacer when required ( see Dr if using more than twice a ……./night time symptoms/not lasting 4 hours etc ) children 2-6yrs (2-6puffs) ….. your thoughts?? We would then counsel & provide advice re asthma action plan/first aid/device technique/preventer adherence etc..

    Thank you for your suggestions. However, a pharmacist is unlikely to label medication with all the information you suggested firstly due to the limitation of space on pharmacy label but also due to the limit of the information on the prescription provided to the pharmacist. The pharmacist is unlikely to be aware of the exact directions verbalised by the doctor.This detailed information would be available in a patients written Asthma Action Plan, which leads into the importance of having a written Asthma Action Plan, so an adult or child has individualised instructions provided by their doctor in the case of when they are well and when symptoms of asthma are worsening or very severe.

Question 7:

As States begin to return children to the school classroom, are there extra precautions children with asthma should be taking at this time?

  1. I catch the train every day to work, when we all do return to our work places should asthmatics be catching public transport or driving until there is a vaccine?
  2. Would you recommend adults with asthma work from home and/or avoid public transport? I’m a teacher and an asthmatic.

    If you have the ability to stagger start times and finish times, so not being on public transport with many others, if you have the ability to drive in to work; that would be preferable. However, if not, adhere as best you can to social distancing and good hygiene practices.

  1. What advice do you have for parents with severe asthma and are worried about the kids bringing COVID home once they are back in the school and social environment?

    If you or your child has asthma we understand your concern about the risk of transmission and the worry you might feel about your child getting sick. We can reinforce here that neither children, nor people with asthma seem to be particularly at risk during this time. But we reinforce the recommendations to:

    • Optimise your child’s asthma control
    • Ensure you have an updated written Asthma Action Plan
    • Follow the public health directives carefully.State governments are responsible for the decision to open schools and manage risks within their school environments during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please refer to your state Department of Education updates or updates provided directly by your school for the latest information on how your children will continue their education in your state.
  1. Should we carry out allergy tests to know which things are triggering asthma?

    Routine allergy testing is not normally a requirement, as people with asthma generally can identify triggers. However, if a person with asthma is particularly allergic to multiple triggers or has other allergy related conditions, allergy testing could be helpful in identifying these areas to avoid.

  1. As a teacher with eisonophillic asthma, how worried should I be about being back at school with students as potential carriers? Only severe asthmatics over 65 are excluded.

    Message for teachers: do not come to work if you are sick or in a vulnerable person category.Like many other professions, there are many teachers who have asthma and who are worried about their individual vulnerability in the context of teaching students. There are also those who are worried about the vulnerability of their families in the case that the teacher might return from work carrying the virus. There are occasions where the family member might be especially vulnerable due to an existing medical condition or due to their age. These are all understandable concerns.Asthma Australia would like to encourage employees in the education sector to discuss their concerns with their supervisor at work. If the employee falls into the vulnerable categories, they should be adapting their working practices to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Where their day to day role involves close contact with people, this will need to be discussed and negotiated between employees and employers. Indeed, all requirements of the day to day role, including the need to commute to work if this involves public transport, need to be discussed and negotiated. This might also apply to employees who are the main carers of family members who fall into the vulnerable category. Refer to Safework Australia for further information about the workplace requirements.The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee recommendations for teachers in particular is:Message for teachers: do not come to work if you are sick or in a vulnerable person category.Message for all adults: the greatest risk of transmission in the school environment is between adults. It is of upmost importance that teachers and parents alike maintain physical distancing between themselves and each other at school.Teachers and staff who are vulnerable should take additional care to protect themselves and, where possible, arrange to work from home. This is also the case for those with caring responsibilities for vulnerable people. https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-advice-on-reducing-the-potential-risk-of-covid-19-transmission-in-schools

  1. Advising that children stay homefrom school when experiencing small sniffles, does that apply to childcare environments as well?

    The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommendations for ECLC is exclusion of unwell staff, children and visitors. Do not send sick children to day care or early childhood and learning centres.

  1. There are kids who have allergies throughout the year who sneeze, cough or rub eyes. What happens to those kids who go to school in the current situation?

    According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, most people with allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eczema, food, insect or medication allergy are not immunocompromised and are therefore not considered to be at greater risk of any respiratory infections. Some allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms may be similar to those caused by infections, so it is important to treat allergic rhinitis and asthma to prevent symptoms that could be mistaken for infections from viruses, such as such as colds, influenza and COVID-19.Discuss allergy symptoms with your child’s doctor and the possibility of starting allergy or allergic rhinitis treatment to better manage the condition(s). If the child is already on treatment and is still experiencing symptoms, discuss with your child’s doctor the possibility of a specialist referral and allergy testing. In addition, discuss with your child’s school their current allergies and symptoms for a shared understanding of your child.

Question 8:

Have medical protocols changed for people with asthma especially in relation to those with severe asthma? How can people with asthma ensure they continue to get good care?

  1. How necessary is it to replace a spacer every 12 months as per recommendation on the spacer instruction leaflet? Is this just an advertising ploy?

    Spacers should be inspected by a health care professional, your doctor; pharmacist or nurse every six to twelve months to ensure there are no cracks and the valve is working correctly. Devices are intended to be used as per the manufacturers guidelines, if used outside these guidelines then the function of the device cannot be guaranteed.

Question 9:

What are the implications of people not seeing their GP during this time?

  1. I am worried about my asthma in this time. I think my anxiety is not helping it is flaring it up with an annoying cough. What advice do you have to help improve my asthma?

    One of the best things you can do to reduce your risk is to optimise your asthma control. When it comes to managing your asthma, consider the following checklist:

    • Ensure you are taking your preventer medicine as prescribed
    • Ensure your preventer and reliever device technique is correct and have this checked by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist
    • Obtain, update and use your written Asthma Action Plan. This will provide instructions for when and how you should adjust your treatment as symptoms worsen and when to seek medical assistance
    • Maintain good overall health and wellbeing, which includes managing other long term conditions
    • And also includes focusing on your wellness (think nutrition, exercise, stress management)
    • You can go back to your GP at any time if you think your medication needs adjusting or if you don’t have a written Asthma Action Plan. You might like to ask your medical practice if they provide telehealth consultations
    • Ensure you always have access to a reliever puffer and spares (when you leave the house, at school, at work – depending on schooling or work at home arrangements)
    • Ensure you can identify asthma symptoms and can treat them properly; do you know asthma first aid?
    • Ensure you understand what your asthma triggers are and how to manage these (it will help to have a written Asthma Action Plan), including allergies
    • If you have allergies such as hay fever, make sure you’re on the right treatment for them, and;
    • Tell your family and friends you have asthma and make sure they also know your triggers and how to provide asthma first aid.
  1. I work in Early Childhood Education and Care. We have been constantly adding to and reviewing our COVID-19 Risk Assessment -predominantly hygiene related. In regards to asthma do you have any suggestions which we should be implementing (thus far we have nothing asthma-specific, should we be requiring families to have meetings with their GPs to review plans and assess safety?) or are our standard asthma plans requiring yearly reviews?

    One of the best things parents can do is to reduce risk and to optimise asthma control. When it comes to managing your child’s asthma, consider the following checklist:

  • Ensure child is taking your preventer medicine as prescribed – if prescribed
  • Ensure preventer and reliever device technique is correct and have this checked by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist
  • Obtain, update and use a written Asthma Action Plan. This will provide instructions for when and how you should adjust your treatment as symptoms worsen and when to seek medical assistance
  • Maintain good overall health and wellbeing, which includes managing other long-term conditions if the child has other conditions.
  • Ensure the child always has access to a reliever puffer
  • Ensure parents understand the child’s asthma triggers and how to manage these (it will help to have a written Asthma Action Plan), including allergies
  • If a child has allergies such as hay fever, make sure they are on the right treatment for them.Ensure the ECLC complies with the Education can Care Services National Regulations 90 and 91As per Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC):
  • exclusion of unwell staff, children and visitors
  • reduce mixing of children by separating cohorts (including the staggering of meal and play times)
  • enhanced personal hygiene for children, staff and parents
  • make sure liquid soap and running water, or alcohol-based hand sanitiser is available at the entrance of the facility and throughout
  • full adherence to the NHMRC childcare cleaning guidelines, in addition:
  • clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces at least daily (e.g. play gyms, tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • wash and launder play items and toys including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely
  • influenza vaccination for children, staff and parents.Alternative care arrangements should be considered for those children highly vulnerable to adverse outcomes should they be infected with COVID-19. AHPPC recommends parents seek medical advice for these children.
  1. re home nebulisers.. asmol puffer to replace salbutamol ampule, but what about steroid ampule replacement?

    It would depend on the medication in the ampule. Having a discussion with your doctor or pharmacist as to the alternative ‘puffer’ medication for your ‘steroid’ medication. Alternatively, you could call our Asthma Educators on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) to discuss your current asthma management.

  1. How does asthma skip a generation?

    Asthma is a complex disease and the nuances are not fully understood. Many families see multiple generations with asthma, and some do not; some parents without asthma have and asthmatic child and some parents with asthma don’t. Sometimes asthma is brought on by hereditary factors for example if there is a history of asthma and allergy in the family it may be more likely, though sometimes it is brought on by environmental or workplace irritants.

  1. Should health professionals (doctors) with asthma, examine patients without masks? Or conduct telehealth assessments only?

    It is imperative that our frontline staff are equipped to protect themselves against infection whilst looking after their patients in hospital and community settings. The Commonwealth Government says that personal protective equipment should be used when caring for someone with confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. This includes gown, mask, eye shield and gloves. PPE should be donned before entering the patient’s room and removed before leaving. Hands should be sanitised or washed after removing PPE.Like many other professions, there are many in health who have asthma and who are worried about their individual vulnerability in the context of patient care. There are also those who are worried about the vulnerability of their families in the case that the health carer might return from work carrying the virus. There are occasions where the family member might be especially vulnerable due to an existing medical condition or due to their age. These are all understandable concerns.Asthma Australia would like to encourage employees in the health sector to discuss their concerns with their supervisor at work. If the employee falls into the vulnerable categories, they should be adapting their working practices to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Where their day to day role involves close contact with people, this will need to be discussed and negotiated between employees and employers. Indeed, all requirements of the day to day role, including the need to commute to work if this involves public transport, need to be discussed and negotiated.

  1. Why won’t the Govt tell us specifically how the virus is spread?

    As per the information on the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 pages (https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19#how-it-spreads)The virus can spread from person to person through:

    • close contact with an infectious person (including in the 48 hours before they had symptoms)
    • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
    • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face
  1. I am a nurse in a k-12 school, with many asthmatics, some students with mild asthma have not provided asthma action plans. Would it be appropriate for those students to use the generic 4x4x4 asthma action plan, or should all students have an asthma action plan? I find new asthma action plans every 6 months for a well controlled asthmatic could be unrealistic for parents to obtain?

    According to the NAC, Australian Asthma Handbook, every adult and child with asthma should have their own written Asthma Action Plan that provides clear instructions on how to adjust medication in response to asthma symptoms, and when and how to get medical care, including during an emergency. In addition, a specific plan is needed for school and early childhood settings (e.g. Childcare, kindergarten, OSHC). It is important for everyone who looks after a child to be familiar with their Asthma Action Plan and know what to do in an emergency. A reliever puffer and spacer (and mask if required) should always accompany the plan.Best practice advised by the NAC’s Australian Asthma Handbook, states that a child’s written Asthma Action Plan should be reviewed every 6 months, and whenever asthma control status changes significantly or medicines are changed or stopped. In practice in schools this is usually done every 12 months, though if there are any changes to medications or asthma status a review of the plan is required; this may or may not lead to a change on the plan. If there is a change made a new plan should be written and shared with those caring for the child.

  1. This is not a direct COVID-19 query, more a general question. The ARC (Aust Resus Council) suggest that during an asthma emergency, take 4 puffs of reliever medication (using a spacer device) and after each puff take 4 breaths then wait 4 minutes. I currently teach first aid and teach the recommended systems, however, I was previously a paramedic and we would administer nebulised salbutamol constantly. It concerns me that whilst we wait 4 minutes between puffs, there may be potential for the condition to worsen. What is your recommendation during an asthma emergency for the administration of the reliever?

    The Australian guidelines ‘The Australian Asthma Handbook’ refer to the National Asthma Council recommendations for Asthma First Aid. Asthma Australia are guided by this national authority regarding Asthma First Aid Policy. Asthma First Aid steps for a blue/grey reliever with a spacer are as you described. This is the recommendation for community settings (homes; sporting clubs or events; educational services etc).Managing acute asthma in clinical settings and the rapid primary assessment of acute asthma in adults and children follows a different pathway when a clinician is involved and is managing the condition.

  1. How long should an Early childhood educator that has asthma stay away from their childcare centre?

    Like many other professions, there are many teachers and educators who have asthma and who are worried about their individual vulnerability in the context of being around children. There are also those who are worried about the vulnerability of their families in the case that the teacher might return from work carrying the virus. There are occasions where the family member might be especially vulnerable due to an existing medical condition or due to their age. These are all understandable concerns. Asthma Australia would like to encourage employees in the education sector to discuss their concerns with their supervisor at work. If the employee falls into the vulnerable categories, they should be adapting their working practices to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Where their day to day role involves close contact with people, this will need to be discussed and negotiated between employees and employers. Indeed, all requirements of the day to day role, including the need to commute to work if this involves public transport, need to be discussed and negotiated. This might also apply to employees who are the main carers of family members who fall into the vulnerable category. Refer to Safework Australia for further information about the workplace requirements.

Additional questions received via email:

  1. What is the advice of the panel regarding how an asthmatic needs to organise work/ life issues considering the uncertainty of when a vaccine will be available and the development of an effective treatment for the virus ? Do we continue working from home of possible?

    Like many other professions, there are many who have asthma and who are worried about their individual vulnerability in the context of COVID-19. There are also those who are worried about the vulnerability of their families in the case that they might return from work carrying the virus. There are occasions where the family member might be especially vulnerable due to an existing medical condition or due to their age. These are all understandable concerns.
    Asthma Australia would like to encourage employees in all professional sectors to discuss their concerns with their supervisor at work. If the employee falls into the vulnerable categories, they should be adapting their working practices to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Where their day to day role involves close contact with people, this will need to be discussed and negotiated between employees and employers. Indeed, all requirements of the day to day role, including the need to commute to work if this involves public transport, need to be discussed and negotiated. This might also apply to employees who are the main carers of family members who fall into the vulnerable category. Refer to Safework Australia for further information about the workplace requirements.

  1. Is there any data about how asthmatics overseas have fared if they have had the virus?

    There is no specific data as yet to suggest that people with asthma are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that people with asthma have a higher risk of experiencing serious illness if they get it.

  1. I’m in Darwin and we are now in our colder months. It’s not really cold. But it also is bushfire season and Darwin is often blanketed by thick smoke. This is a trigger for me and am concerned about the combination of dealing with fine smoke particles I cannot escape and the potential for COVID infection. Do you have any advice?

    Bushfire smoke and air quality:Poor air quality has a significant impact on people living with asthma, and can worsen the symptoms of asthma.Poor air quality means there are substances in the air which could be harmful for people or the environment. Common pollutants include:

    • Ozone
    • Carbon monoxide
    • Sulphur dioxide
    • Nitrogen dioxide
    • Particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5)
    • Poor air quality can be hard to avoid. Children, older people, pregnant women and those with pre-existing health conditions like asthma, or respiratory and cardiac conditions are most at risk of negative health impacts.Poor air quality can arise from a variety of sources such as bushfire, hazard reduction burning, woodfire heaters, transport and industry processes.Common air pollutants are measured by difference services in each State and Territory. See the links below for air quality information in your area. http://ntepa.webhop.net/NTEPA/Default.ltr.aspxIt is advisable to stay indoors with doors and windows shut when the air quality is poor or worse. If possible, air conditioners are recommended to be in use on the recycled air setting. Alternatively, reprieve can be found in buildings with air con, such as shopping centres and cinemas (dependent on current state restrictions – at the current time, you may need to stay indoors at your home).Portable air cleaners can be effective to provide refuge from hazardous air quality inside homes. They are only useful for use in isolated places and not a safeguard covering the whole house. Air cleaners are different to purifiers or filters but do use HEPA filters to filter the harmful particulates from the air.Face masks (P2/n95) can help filter particles when air quality is poor. However, they must be fitted correctly and maintain an airtight seal to be effective. For example, they will not be effective if you have a beard as air will leak around the sides.In hazardous conditions all exercise and outdoor activities should be cancelled.For having best optimal health to protect yourself again COVID-19The best way protect yourself against coronavirus infection is to avoid contact with people and environments which might be infected or contaminated by the virus.This includes washing hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or with an alcohol based hand sanitiser and maintaining good social distancing practices.Social distancing for people who are well means keeping at least 1.5 metres (approximately two arms lengths) between yourself and others at all times. It also means not engaging in any unnecessary social activities. Visits to the supermarket, pharmacies and medical appointments, attending school and work are considered acceptable activities.One of the best things you can do to reduce your risk is to optimise your asthma control. When it comes to managing your asthma, consider the following checklist:
    • Ensure you are taking your preventer medicine as prescribed
    • Ensure your preventer and reliever device technique is correct and have this checked by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist
    • Obtain, update and use your written Asthma Action Plan. This will provide instructions for when and how you should adjust your treatment as symptoms worsen and when to seek medical assistance
    • Maintain good overall health and wellbeing, which includes managing other long term conditions
    • And also includes focusing on your wellness (think nutrition, exercise, stress management)
    • You can go back to your GP at any time if you think your medication needs adjusting or if you don’t have a written Asthma Action Plan. You might like to ask your medical practice if they provide telehealth consultations
    • Ensure you always have access to a reliever puffer and spares (when you leave the house, at school, at work – depending on schooling or work at home arrangements)
    • Ensure you can identify asthma symptoms and can treat them properly; do you know asthma first aid?
    • Ensure you understand what your asthma triggers are and how to manage these (it will help to have a written Asthma Action Plan), including allergies
    • If you have allergies such as hay fever, make sure you’re on the right treatment for them, and;Tell your family and friends you have asthma and make sure they also know your triggers and how to provide asthma first aid.