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Asthma….It’s more serious than you think

So what does everyone know about asthma?

Do you imagine it as the nerdy guy, who sucks on an inhaler whenever he gets nervous? Or do you imagine it as a person who runs a few meters and gets breathless after running a few meters?

As funny as the above examples may be, asthma can be life threatening also. Hopefully in this post, I hope that it can cause a shift in your thinking in what you may already think asthma is.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a long term condition which causes the bronchi (the cauliflower looking things in your lungs) to spasm or tighten, which results to the person having trouble breathing. At times this causes phlegm to build up within the already narrow air passages, which means… you guessed it… blocks the air ways even more!

The statistics do show that even though treatments for asthma are ever increasing and ongoing cases have plateau’d since the late 90’s, the UK still holds the highest rates in Europe where around 3 people die everyday from asthma.(Told you asthma is serious, and I’ve just started the blog)

What causes asthma?

Believe it or not, asthma does have triggers which can cause the symptoms to occur. Examples are pollution, foods, dust, moulds, weather, exercising (no folks this is not your excuse to keep your body in shape) and even laughing. So in a way, we can say asthma does correlate to an allergic reaction right??

How do you recognise it?

Asthma can be recognised in the following ways:

  • Coughing

  • Tightness in the chest

  • Wheezing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Difficulty breathing

Not everyone experiences these symptoms all at one time and most asthmatics can live their normal lives with this condition. However only around 4% suffer severely with these symptoms even with treatment.

How do you treat it?

Normally asthmatics are usually given blue relievers which help relax the tightened airways, which results in the person being able to breathe easier. As I tell my learners, do not always believe Hollywood when it comes to first aid, I say this because you would see actors who act they have severe asthma sucking away at a blue reliever like its juice when in actual fact its purpose is to relieve symptoms, not to get rid of inflammation.

The reliever is a good “quick fix” to those who have mild asthma, to allow them to breathe easier should they feel a bit breathless, but we should never assume that it is good for an asthmatic over a long period of time.

One thing to bear in mind is not to allow a person who is experiencing an asthma flare up is to not allow them to be in cold air as a way of getting fresh air to them, as this can potentially make the symptoms worse.

And please don’t use a paper bag if someone is having an asthma attack, they are already lacking enough oxygen as it is (another Hollywood myth crushed by moi).

“Asthma doesn’t seem to bother me any more unless I’m around cigars or dogs. The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar” Steve Allen


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