World Asthma Day high­lights plight of over 3 mil­lion suf­fer­ers

Cape Times - - NEWS - Staff Writer

Peo­ple with al­ler­gies have a greater chance of de­vel­op­ing asthma

ASTHMA af­fects one in ten chil­dren and one in 20 adults, and is one of the most com­mon res­pi­ra­tory com­plaints in the world to­day.

Mark­ing World Asthma Day yes­ter­day, the World Asthma Foun­da­tion says over three mil­lion suf­fer from asthma world­wide and over 250 000 die an­nu­ally from asthma world­wide.

Na­tional Asthma Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme (NAEP) chair­per­son Omolemo Kitchin said the theme of World Asthma Day 2017 is “Asthma: Bet­ter Air, Bet­ter Breath­ing”.

This year, NAEP is fo­cus­ing on asthma and al­ler­gies.

“Avoid­ing risk fac­tors that cause asthma symp­toms is an im­por­tant strat­egy for im­prov­ing con­trol.

“How­ever, in many ar­eas in South Africa, peo­ple with asthma may be ex­posed to con­di­tions, such as out­door or in­door asthma trig­gers.”

Peo­ple who have al­ler­gies, es­pe­cially al­ler­gic rhini­tis (hay-fever/si­nus), eczema and se­vere food al­ler­gies, have a greater chance of de­vel­op­ing asthma. Asthma and al­ler­gies of­ten go hand-in-hand. There are sev­eral types of asthma, but al­ler­gic asthma is a type that is trig­gered by an al­lergy eg. pollen. “Peo­ple must avoid all things known to trig­ger their asthma.

“This may dif­fer from per­son to per­son. Vi­ral in­fec­tions are the most com­mon pre­cip­i­tants of acute asth­matic at­tacks in al­ler­gic peo­ple.”

Non-al­ler­gic trig­gers such as cig­a­rette smoke and preser­va­tives such as sul­phur diox­ide are also com­mon trig­gers.

“Peo­ple with asthma should also know what they are al­ler­gic to. The com­mon al­ler­gens in­clude house-dust mites, dogs or cats, grasses and cock­roaches.

“A rarer trig­ger in very young chil­dren may be cer­tain foods such as cow’s milk.”

In ad­di­tion to avoid­ance pro­ce­dures, there are very ef­fec­tive medicines to treat asthma. In the vast ma­jor­ity of cases, peo­ple who have asthma are able to lead a nor­mal, ac­tive and happy life with full in­volve­ment in sport and all other ac­tiv­i­ties, he added.

Peter Rus­sell of Ci­pla SA said in­cor­rect use of in­halers and non-ad­her­ence to treat­ment are two ma­jor con­trib­u­tors to poor lev­els of asthma con­trol in South Africa.

“This is an is­sue that has to be ad­dressed with ur­gency and more scru­tiny.

“All asthma suf­fer­ers should be in a po­si­tion where they have ac­cess to the most ap­pro­pri­ate in­halers for their spe­cific needs and be able to use th­ese in­halers op­ti­mally, as this is vi­tal in fight­ing asthma in South Africa.”

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