What is Asthma?
Asthma is a common lung condition that causes breathing difficulty. Asthma causes the air passages leading to and from your lungs to narrow. This obstructs the path that oxygen takes to your lungs, resulting in shortness of breath. Asthma attacks can be physically and emotionally distressing. The World Health Organisation estimates that 235 million people live with asthma globally, approximately 1.1 million of these people live in the UK, highlighting the importance of raising awareness about asthma, its effects, and potential treatments.

Symptoms vary from person to person but the most common signs of asthma are:

  • breathlessness
  • coughing
  • chest pains
  • wheezing

5 Main Causes of Asthma
The World Health Organisation says:
“The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are a combination of genetic predisposition with environmental exposure to inhaled substances and particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways.”

Different people have different triggers (things that set off their asthma) but the most common causes of asthma attacks are: exposure to allergens (for example, dust particles, pets, pollen and mould), tobacco smoke and air pollution
vigorous exercise, viral infections like the common cold or flu and extreme emotional states (for example, anger, fear, distress).

5 Tips for Coping with Asthma
There isn’t a cure for asthma but it can be effectively managed by following certain steps.Here are a few ideas of how to keep asthma at bay:

  • Seek the advice of a medical professional. Follow the treatment plan they prescribe you and review your medication regularly.
  • Be prepared – always carry a reliever inhaler and an identity card that tells people what to do in the event of an emergency.
  • Keep fit – exercise raises your heart rate, boosts the strength of your lungs/immune system, improves your mood and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid triggers – learn to recognise and manage what triggers your asthma attacks. This will help you to control how frequently you have them.
  • If you are a smoker, quit. For children, try – if possible – to limit the amount of time they spend in highly polluted areas.

What do I do if someone has an asthma attack?

  1. Stay as calm as you can and encourage them to stay calm too
  2. Sit them down, loosen any tight clothing and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths
  3. If they do not start to feel better, they should take more puffs of their reliever inhaler
3rd May 2022