By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: To help retailers with the sell through of its vacuum cleaners, and build brand awareness, Dyson Australia is further aligning itself with Asthma Foundations Australia and urging parents to conduct an Asthma Action Plan on World Asthma Day today.

Dyson most recently supported National Asthma Week with its Donate a Dyson campaign in which Dyson and Harvey Norman together donated over $350,000 worth of vacuum cleaners to childcare centres around Australia.

The latest call to action and association with childhood asthma management coincides today with this year’s World Asthma Day theme of ‘You can control your asthma’.

A new survey undertaken by Dyson and parenting site for the Asthma Foundations of Australia, has revealed that parents of children with asthma could be doing more to help control their children’s asthma.

The Australia-wide survey shows that while 94 per cent of parents see asthma as a serious childhood illness, only 33 per cent of parents with asthmatic children have written an Asthma Action Plan as recommended by Asthma Foundations Australia.

“The survey highlights the need to get the message out that asthma is an illness that can be managed and childhood asthma does not have to destroy childhoods,” said Asthma Foundations Australia CEO, Robin Ould.

“The theme of World Asthma Day is ‘You can control your asthma’. It’s a message that every parent of a child with asthma really needs to understand — particularly at this time of year, when cold air and colds and flu’s tends to trigger asthma in so many children. The use of indoor heating, together with doors and windows closed to the cold, also tends to have an adverse effect.”

Over 900 parents responded to the online survey which was conducted across Australia. 27 per cent of the parents of children with asthma who responded said their child had missed school because of their asthma and 23 per cent said their child had needed to be excused from sport because of their asthma. One in five children had required urgent medical treatment for their asthma.

An Asthma Action Plan is a written set of instructions prepared with in consultation with a doctor and it helps manage individual cases of asthma at different times. It is a guide for what to expect and how to react. The plan should help sufferers and their carers recognise worsening asthma symptoms, start treatment quickly, and seek the right medical assistance.

“Having a written plan has provided great results for asthma sufferers all over the world,” said Robin Ould. “It’s a simple step but the results can be life-changing. And in young children, paying attention to worsening asthma can prevent the kind of serious attack that can cause lung damage.”

Asthma Foundations Australia urges parents to find a doctor with an interest in Asthma management and visit them at least three times over four months to develop an individually prescribed written plan. It should include emergency contact details and clear information for assessing the severity of the child’s asthma, as well as a clear outline of actions to take in response to escalating symptoms. It should include doses and frequencies of medications, danger signs to watch for and when and where to seek emergency help. A copy of the plan should go to the child’s school or day care facility. It should be reviewed and updated once a year.

“Asthma has a number of triggers, including cold air, exertion, and indoor triggers such as smoke, animal dander, dust mites and other pollens and bacteria,” said Dyson Appliances managing director, Ross Cameron.

“Whilst vacuuming cannot cure asthma, it can help remove indoor triggers. All Dyson vacuum cleaners are approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program as being better for people with asthma and allergies. So retailers can feel confident recommending Dyson vacuum cleaners to consumers who suffer from these conditions.”