Cold homes contributing to sick kids in winter

Our Kidz First Children’s Emergency Department sees an increase in respiratory disease and illness most winters - with the statistics for respiratory disease in Pacific and Maaori being higher than other ethnic groups.

In New Zealand but especially Counties, respiratory illness is a leading cause of hospital visits and hospitalisation in winter for both children and adults.

“Influenza, COVID and RSV virus cause a lot of these illnesses. There is no vaccine for RSV but there are good vaccines for COVID and Influenza. Vaccines in pregnancy protect young infants from day one and this is even more important now with the upsurge of whooping cough illnesses in babies. “says Adrian Trenholme, Paediatrician, Kidz First.

Adrian tells us that Measles is also circulating and can cause bad chest infections.

“The best thing whaanau can do to protect each other especially the very young and very old is to make sure immunisations are up to date for everyone in each house.” 

Find out more here:


Faasoa Pelemaa has been a nurse at Kidz First for four years and says she can see the statistics represented in our patients.

“I love working with children but it's hard to see them sick. Our kids can get pretty sick over winter especially if they already have conditions like asthma or bronchiectasis. Vaccination and knowing the symptoms to look out for is an important part of protecting our children.

“Cold, damp and mouldy homes can contribute to these factors and there is a free service available to our Counties Manukau community called AWHI Healthy Homes Initiative which supports whaanau to have warm and healthy homes.

“Healthy homes contribute to likely reducing respiratory illnesses in our kids. Just ask your health professional about AWHI.”

Some signs your child or baby has respiratory issues include:

• Difficulty breathing

• A persistent cough and running nose

• Breathing fast or becoming short of breath.

• Refusal to feed (in babies).

“If your child has any of these symptoms you should get checked out by a health professional. Calling Healthline on 0800 358 5453 is a good free resource if you are worried,” says Faasoa.

Find tips for keeping your home dry and warm here: 

adrian T web 400

Posted in Latest news;

kids news kidz first

Less than a minute to read Communications Team

Last modified: