Today is World Asthma Day, and each year the first Tuesday of May provides a special opportunity to raise awareness of asthma worldwide in order to improve care and support for sufferers. Through building awareness of asthma symptoms, improvements can be made towards its treatment and help lower the mortality rate. You can get involved by showing your support and through familiarising yourself with the signs and symptoms of asthma.
About World Asthma Day
World Asthma Day is a worldwide campaign supported by the Global Initiative for Asthma which works with healthcare professionals and public health bodies internationally to reduce the morbidity, prevalence and mortality of asthma. The initiative was first launched in 1993 and works to improve the treatment of asthma through raising awareness and funds.
Asthma in the UK
According to the British Lung Foundation, 12% of the UK population (8 million) have been diagnosed with asthma. And whilst there are many children who ‘grow out’ of asthma by adulthood, there are many for whom it won’t be diagnosed until later in life, and many people remain undiagnosed in the UK.
Asthma is a condition which occurs when the bronchi (small tubes which carry air around the lungs) become inflamed. Asthma can lead to a number of symptoms which can occur either in combination or isolation including coughing and wheezing and a feeling of breathlessness. While many symptoms can be controlled with the right treatment, some sufferers may experience asthma ‘attacks’ which can be life threatening and require hospital treatment. There are a number of things which can trigger an asthma attack, including:
- Cigarette smoke
- Dust mites
- Animal fur
- Chemicals (particularly in the workplace)
Whilst asthma doesn’t have a cure, it is mainly managed through the use of inhalers as well as avoiding triggers.
As one of the preventable causes of asthma attacks, smokers can do their bit for World Asthma Day by signing up to Smokefreelife Berkshire. The initiative is free and available to those living in Berkshire who want to quit smoking for good. Smokers can attend a series of group or individual sessions over a 12 week period and take advantage of free nicotine supplies to further help you quit. By giving up smoking you can help to improve your life as well as those around you, preventing a number of health conditions later down the line.
Getting involved with World Asthma Day
You can do your bit for World Asthma Day by showing your support on social media as well as raising awareness amongst friends, family and colleagues to help them identify the symptoms of asthma as well as how to help those who may be suffering. Use #WorldAsthmaDay
To help you understand asthma, its signs and treatment, there are a number of online resources to help you including the Bracknell Forest Self Care Guide, the NHS website and of course, your own GP. If you are struggling with your symptoms, need emergency help or have run out of medication outside of normal GP hours, our East Berkshire Primary Care Out of Hours service could provide you with the help you need. Visit our webpage for more details of where to find us.