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Launch of new asthma resources

We are excited to have recently launched three new health professional resources: The ever popular Asthma & COPD Medications wall chart has been revised to include all the latest inhalers available in Australia and this updated version specifies each medication’s current PBS reimbursement status for asthma and/or COPD.

The new Allergic Rhinitis Treatments wall chart shows the main intranasal treatment options available in Australia for allergic rhinitis. Effective management of allergic rhinitis is an important component of good asthma control. Prescription-only, pharmacy-only and non-prescription products are all included.

The Australian Asthma Handbook Version 1.2 takes into account the latest asthma and COPD drugs which have come on the market over the last two years. It also covers use of e-cigarettes, inhaler technique, spacer priming and clarification of the rationale for long-term use of low-dose ICS in adults.

Hardcopies of the new charts can be ordered from our online order store.The updated Quick Reference Guide v1.2 is not available in print. However, a PDF version can be downloaded from the Handbook website.

Predicting pollen

As many readers will have noticed, the pollen season has begun.
Around 30% of the population are allergic to pollen, with rhinitis being the most common response. Asthma can also be directly triggered by pollen or exacerbated by the rhinitis.
It is also the time to look out for thunderstorm asthma, a phenomenon whereby thunderstorms combined with high pollen levels lead to a spike in emergency presentations for asthma. This results from moisture in the air causing the pollen to release smaller starch granules that can be inhaled deeper into the lungs.
The Australian Pollen Allergen Partnership was formed to coordinate and standardise pollen measuring and forecasting and currently includes the major capitals of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra.
The Melbourne pollen count is conducted at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Associate Professor Ed Newbigin. 
Each day, the slide is collected, the pollen is stained with a fuscin dye and examined under a microscope by a botanist who can identify the different types of pollen and count them. Grass pollens are counted for the pollen forecast. The forecast incorporates weather predictions for the next few days.

Below Left: Ed is seen here with the pollen collector. This device directs air onto a microscope slide with an adhesive surface. Right: Masters student, Lachlan Tegart is seen here counting the pollen grains.
As well as the pollen count, the team collects data from members of the public who regularly report their allergy symptoms. Early analysis has shown a very high correlation between subjective allergy symptoms and objective pollen counts.
Adelaide also has a pollen forecast similar to the four cities above, while Tasmania has the Sense-T AirRater smart phone app, which uses a state-wide sensor network and user input.
There are some commercial pollen forecasts that are not as reliable.
The Australian Asthma Handbook has detailed recommendations for managing allergic asthma, which include investigating and treating allergic rhinitis if present.

How-to give EpiPen: Japanese translation now available

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy's step-by-step instructions on how to use the EpiPen autoinjector for anaphylaxis are available in a range of community languages. The latest addition to the library is instructions in Japanese.

For more information, go to the ASCIA website.

Applications for nurse transition program now open

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) has launched a 12-month transition support program aiming to increase knowledge, skills and confidence of nurses commencing their career in primary health care.

Starting in 2017, the Transition to Practice Pilot Program is seeking nurses new to primary health care as well as experienced nurses who want to be a clinical and professional mentor.

For more information see the APNA Website.

New Chair of Research sought

The International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) is looking to appoint its next Chair of Research, describing the voluntary position as an opportunity to influence research practice and to generate evidence that will improve the respiratory health of people across the world.

For more about the role visit the IPCRG website.

Upcoming conferences and events


GPCE - General Practice Conference & Exhibition
11 -13 November 2016
Melbourne, Australia
More information

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand 
24 to 25 November 2016
Auckland, New Zealand
More information


Closing the Gap 2016
National Indigenous Health Conference and
2016 World Indigenous Allied Health Conference

1-3 December 
Cairns Queensland, Australia 
More information 

WAO International Scientific Conference 2016
6-9 December
Jerusalem, Israel 
More information
Copyright © 2016 National Asthma Council Australia, All rights reserved.

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