Breathe Better September is a national campaign to raise awareness of respiratory conditions in New Zealand. The campaign encourages all Kiwis to show their support for better breathing and healthy lungs and to start thinking about how they can improve their respiratory health.
Respiratory disease includes asthma, lung cancer, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea.
Over 700,000 Kiwis have a respiratory condition, it’s the third leading cause of death and costs the country $6 billion each year. In New Zealand over 521,000 people take medication for asthma, making it the most common respiratory condition in the country.
There’s a number of workplace, lifestyle and environmental factors that can contribute to respiratory illness.
Physical activity improves lung capacity, blood flow, as well as your muscles and joints. Maintaining a healthy weight is important, as obesity can have serious effects on the lungs and breathing.
Living in a dry and warm environment is good for everyone, and is vital to reduce the risk of respiratory disease. Making your home dry, warm and pollution-free can also save money and energy.
If you have asthma, it’s important to take your health care seriously to avoid recurrence and severity of symptoms. Go to the GP frequently, take medication as directed, and get your flu vaccine each year (which is free for people with respiratory conditions). Know your triggers and have an asthma action plan in place if you’re un-well or need help in an emergency.
There’s a number of respiratory diseases that can be attributed to the workplace, like asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, silicosis and other diseases caused by exposure to solvents, dusts, gases, fungi and bacteria.
Ensuring you are controlling the exposure your workers have to airborne particulates and pollutants is one of your obligations as a PCBU under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015. Not only will you be meeting your legal obligations, but you’ll be ensuring you’re not contributing to the 700,000 kiwis with a respiratory condition.