Part 1: What is Asthma?

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Do you suffer from asthma? Do you know someone who does? How has it affected their life? I am lucky that I don’t have asthma, however I have friends that do and I know it can be a small irritation to a major concern. Welcome to my 3 part series about Asthma and Allergies. Part 2 and 3 coming in the next couple of days. So stay tuned.

According to kidswithasthama.com.au

1 in out of every 8 or 9 Australian children have asthma.

“Most children with asthma have symptoms only occasionally –  isolated episodes lasting a few days, with no symptoms for about two months or more between episodes”.

The girls wearing blue to raise money for the “Asthma Foundation”. Today was last day of term and of course mufti day. Each girl gave a $2 coin towards to the cause and we hope it helps with awareness, education and helping those with asthma.

The girls wearing blue to raise money for the “Asthma Foundation”. Today was last day of term and of course mufti day. Each girl gave a $2 coin towards to the cause and we hope it helps with awareness, education and helping those with asthma.

 

So What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Symptoms include: coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness.

Kids who have asthma might have the following symptoms:

  • Not eat or drink as much
  • Have tummy ache and have episodes of vomiting
  • Cry more
  • Get puffed out more than usual while playing, running or participating in sports.
  • Become tired quickly

Below is a great video from the NHS Choices. The video has detailed diagrams.

Just to give you an idea of what it sounds like to be having an asthma attack below is a video of a person having an attack. I am glad she was o.k and the attack was due to not having her inhaler with her. She made it to the hospital and got looked after so all good.

 

Treatment

What are your treatment options if you suffer from asthma?  Do they vary if you only have a mild case compared to a severe form of the disease? Depending on how bad the attack is, you might need different treatments, tg.com.au have a great breakdown on what to do in these different cases.

Asthma Classifications. Image from www.medicinenet.com

Asthma Classifications. Image from www.medicinenet.com

Medicines for Asthma:

  • Relievers – Otherwise known as a puffer. A puffer can be purchased from a chemist without a prescription.
  • Preventers – This medicine is for adolescents and adults. It is a medicine that has a low dose of corticosteroid. Preventers reduces inflammation in the airways and can reduce risk of an asthma attack.

 

Child using asthma inhaler. Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Child using asthma inhaler. Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Need a good overview of Asthama & COPD Medicines, the National Asthma Organisation has it sorted.

Below are links for “How to videos” from the National Asthma Council Australia:
Using your inhaler
Using your nasal spray

 Did you know?

“Asthma symptoms after physical activity are common but can be prevented. The symptoms are usually worst 5 to 10 minutes after stopping exercise, not during the exercise.” (Asthma Handbook)

 

Download your Asthma Handbook from the National Asthma Organisation. This fabulous guide is packed with info that you will need to know if you or your child has asthma.

 

 How Asthma Impacts Your Lifestyle

Do you think having asthma has impacted your lifestyle? Do you not do things for fear you might have an attack?

“Global rates of asthma have increased significantly between the 1960s and 2008 with it being recognized as a major public health problem since the 1970s. Rates of asthma have plateaued in the developed world since the mid-1990s with recent increases primarily in the developing world. Asthma affects approximately 7% of the population of the United States and 5% of people in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have rates of about 14–15%” (Wikipedia)

 

A map of the world with Europe shaded yellow, most of North and South America orange and Southern Africa a dark red

Disability-adjusted life year for asthma per 100,000 inhabitants in 2004.

  no data
  <100
  100–150
  150–200
  200–250
  250–300
  300–350
  350–400
  400–450
  450–500
  500–550
  550–600
  >600

Getting Educated About Asthma

If you or a family member has asthma it is a good idea to know how to help them in case of an emergency. You will need to know the following:

  • What medicine the person is using
  • Create an action plan
  • Learn what triggers your asthma
  • Lifestyle modification – ie. avoid passive smoke, don’t get exposed to certain pollens and so on.

Learn as much as you can about what makes you feel better. Is it diet? Exercise? Living in a warmer climate or cooler one? Do what works for you.

One thing to make sure to do, is to let people know that you suffer from asthma. The more people know the better things will be. Why you ask? Well, if you do have an episode others will know what the issue is and help you when you cannot help yourself. If you did not tell them, they would have no idea.

 

Another Fact About Asthma

“Asthma and allergies are closely linked. Most people with asthma have allergic asthma” (Asthma Handbook)

 

What to do in an Emergency

Taken from the National Asthma Council Australia

  • Severe breathing problems
  • Symptoms get worse
  • Reliever has little or no effect
  • Difficulty saying sentences
  • Blue lips
  • Drowsiness

Call an ambulance (dial 000) and start asthma first aid

 

How do you cope with your asthma? Do you find that you go a while without an issue and then say stress or something else sets it off? Let us know? Do your friends or family have a plan just in case there is an emergency? Send in your comments.

 

Disclaimer: I am entering the Excellence in Asthma & Allergy Reporting Awards.I aim to create more awareness about asthma and allergies. In the process it would be nice to win the prize but just to be in it will be achievement enough.

Stay tuned for part 2 and part 3

Part 2 – History of Asthma treatment through the ages

Part 3 – Interview with two people who have asthma and allergies.

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