Tasmania, Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory are Australia's severe asthma 'hot spots' as the country enters a peak asthma hospitalisation period. The Journal of Asthma study also found the greatest prevalence of severe uncontrolled asthma and/or more frequent use of oral corticosteroids (OCS) was in South Australia and parts of Queensland and NSW. Unlike people with asthma, severe asthma sufferers experience regular symptoms and attacks despite high doses of medication. Around 200,000 Australians with severe asthma experience "persistent and life-threatening breathing problems and need emergency care on a regular basis", according to Asthma Australia. National Asthma Council director Professor Wark said the data represented 1.9 million Australians and 24% had 'difficult to control' disease. "This highlights the fact that asthma remains a very serious chronic health condition for the Australian population despite access to medications that should be highly effective," Professor Wark said. Professor Peter Wark said the geographic variance was likely due to a few factors. "This includes environmental and socioeconomic issues in relation to air quality and potentially access to healthcare," Professor Wark said. Remoteness was also a factor for Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In other news: Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman said: "You have extra challenges [in regional and remote areas] to be able to access that primary health care, to ensure your asthma is well managed, as well as the increased prevalence of things like dust and grass pollens". 80 per cent of people with asthma also had hayfever, she said. There is usually more children presenting to the emergency department for asthma in February and May. The normal February peak is related to children picking up respiratory infections during the back-to-school (and childcare) period. The peak for asthma hospitalisations for adults is June to September, during the flu-season, particularly in people aged 65 years and older. "In winter, when we know colds, flus and viruses are really common triggers for asthma, we would encourage people to be really vigilant to ensure that they've had their asthma reviewed," Ms Goldman said. Mr Wark, a respiratory physician, said the biggest problem was under-treatment of asthma and people with asthma not using a regular preventer. "People are living with a degree and a level of symptoms that they don't have to be living with and if we had better access to care, appropriate prescription of preventers, and appropriate use of those preventers, we would see a significant Improvement," he said. Ms Goldman said the cost of medications is a key barrier to people not using their medications as frequently as they should be. Families were sharing medication or parents were simply going without, she said. The concern is that the medication did not treat asthma optimally when it was used intermittently. "Poverty and disadvantage, both increase the chance of developing and having bad asthma and also is compounded by them not being able to seek and access to health care and medications that's required to treat it and manage it," Ms Goldman said. Tips for taking care of your asthma during winter from CEO of Asthma Australia, Michele Goldman.