Heatwave Warning

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The Asthma Society of Ireland today warning the 312,000 people who have both asthma and hayfever in Ireland to take precautions when going on holidays this summer.

News in the last 24 hours has indicated a heatwave across Europe in coming days, where temperatures could break records – causing problems for Irish people with hayfever and asthma if they are on holidays in areas affected by the heatwave.

“Hayfever symptoms are capable of escalating an asthma attack, which in some cases can be fatal. Asthma deaths are rising in Ireland, with one person now dying every six days as a result of their asthma,” Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said.

“In addition, people with hayfever experience symptoms which really compromise their quality of life and ability to enjoy the summer months.”

Pollen Tracker

The Asthma Society has teamed up with Dyson Ireland to launch its Pollen Tracker on asthma.ie.

The tracker provides an update of pollen levels across the four provinces each day, and a predictor of the pollen levels for the following day.

“Everyone deserves to enjoy their holidays instead of struggling with their asthma and/or hayfever,” she added.

“Up to 80% of people with asthma also have hayfever, it is important to get both your hayfever and asthma under control to have an enjoyable holiday.”

Holiday Tips for People with Asthma and Hayfever:

  • Speak to the Asthma Society’s free Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 prior to your holiday to ensure your asthma and hayfever are in control.
  • Visit your GP to update your Asthma Action Plan – which can be downloaded from www.asthma.ie. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist prior to your holiday about taking medication to prevent / reduce your symptoms. Don’t wait until you feel unwell or until you are abroad as the language difference can pose a challenge in gettingthe right treatment.
  • Take sufficient quantities of asthma and hayfever medication to last the duration of your holiday and ensure that all medication you bring is in date for the duration.
  • Take your asthma medication with you as hand luggage, after checkingwith your airline in advance  to ensure it is ok to do so.
  • Ensure that you have an Asthma Attack Card and both you and your travel companions know what to do in case of an asthma emergency.
  • Ensure you have travel insuranceand check that your policy will cover asthma.
  • Before you arrive, locate the nearest pharmacy, doctor, hospital and ambulance service nearest to your accommodation encase of an emergency.
  • If you are travelling to somewhere in Ireland, check the pollen forecast on asthma.ie for daily pollen level updates. If you are visiting a foreign country, check if there is a pollen forecast available for that country.

If the Pollen Count is high, you should:

  • Keep windows and doors closed especially at night.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Stay away from grassy areas, especially when grass is freshly cut.
  • Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes.
  • Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period.
  • Avoid drying clothes outdoors, or shake them outdoors before bringing them in.
  • Minimise your contact with animals that have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen
  • The Asthma Society’s free Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 which allows the user to speak to a respiratory specialist nurse about all aspects of managing their condition – including hayfever and its impact on a respiratory condition. The Asthma Society can generally facilitate a callback from the asthma/COPD nurse within hours – which is very helpful as they make their holiday plans.

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