World Asthma Day is celebrated on the first Tuesday of May every year. Established in 1998 by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), the day is dedicated to raising awareness about the disease in the hope that the estimated 235 million sufferers worldwide continue to receive the most advanced treatment and care they possibly can.
The chronic lung disease, which can cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing, is most prevalent in children and occurs in all countries regardless of level of development, making it a burden to millions of families and individuals throughout a lifetime. This is what you should do if someone is having an asthma attack.
Despite there being no cure for asthma, raising awareness through World Asthma Day can encourage regular treatment and keep the symptoms under control. This year marks the 20th World Asthma Day and the theme is 'Never too early, never too late'. 'It's always the right time to address airways disease'.
The aim is to motivate both patients and healthcare providers to evaluate the symptoms of asthma regularly and actively in order to live a healthy life. While the symptons are largely known, people can be often unsure about how to react in case of an attack.
If you or someone you know is an asthma sufferer, it is essential that you are prepared and well equipped to handle an attack. As there are two possible scenarios when having an attack (either you have your inhaler with you or you don't) below is a guide on how to react in each instance.
WITH your inhaler.
1. Sit upright and don't lie, and take slow steady breaths.
2. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30 to 60 second, up to a maximum of 10 puffs. And try to remain as calm as possible as panicking will only affect your breathing more.
3. Call 999 for an ambulance if you feel worse despite using your inhaler or you're worried at any point.