Exposing Fallacies on World Asthma Day
The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) a collaborative organization of the World Health Organization which was founded in 1993 organizes World Asthma Day to raise awareness of chronic disease. India is called the asthma capital of the world as it accounts for 42 percent of related deaths and contributes to 11.1 percent of global asthma. The asthma attacks or episodes or exacerbations cannot be cured but they can be managed, reduced, and prevented. The theme for this year’s awareness program is ‘Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions.’ In India, asthma is considered a stigma and therefore kept hidden. But what is necessary is a healthy conversation about the disease.
Why is celebrating World Asthma Day important? “People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death,” according to World Health Organization (WHO).
The common misconception regarding asthma is that it is contagious or infectious. Asthma is not infectious or contagious but it can be caused by viral respiratory infections such as common cold and flu. Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory and non-infectious disease.
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There is also a misconception in the present time that is causing panic in many people and that is, people suffering from asthma are highly at risk of contracting coronavirus but the study on 140 patients in Wuhan, China that were infected with SAR-CoV-2 showed otherwise. None of the patients suffered from asthma. Asthma is therefore not a strong risk of contracting the virus, which doesn’t mean that one must be careless. Asthma patients must be cautious enough and avoid being infected by any flu.
Asthma can be controlled with low-dose inhaled steroids. Many think that it is controllable only with high-dose steroids. It technically depends on how severe the case is. But most often, it can be controlled with a lower dose of inhaled steroids. Asthma is not a childhood disease, it can occur at any age; when one is an infant, child, adolescent, adult, and elderly. So it can appear at any given stage of life.
Can the asthmatic exercise? When the asthma is controlled with proper medication and utmost care to the patient the asthmatic cannot just exercise but also participate in a top sports activity.
The following are the ways to treat asthma symptoms carefully at home. This helps reduce risks and helps one prevent asthma:
First of all, one needs to identify what triggers asthma. Is air pollution, allergies, cold air, flu, sinus, smoke, and fragrances affecting you? Any food containing preservatives and artificial colour or Ajinomoto can also trigger asthma. The moment you have identified the triggers try to either avoid them or get help from the concerned asthma specialist.
If there are allergies, one must avoid them as much as possible to protect the airway from inflammation. This will also help get rid of the possible asthma attack. Smoke of any kind is harmful to an asthmatic.
Contagious cold and cough must be avoided by an asthmatic. One must keep oneself clean and sanitized. Getting oneself vaccinated for any flu is also important, i.e. vaccination to protect oneself from pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, and shingles.
Inhalers are a great way to control and avoid any risk of an attack. But one must know the right inhaler that one must keep ready for use.
Alongside the treatment and prevention of asthma, one must take precautions too to keep asthma in control. An asthmatic must follow one’s asthma action plan; quick-relief medicines to be carried with oneself, sitting up erect and remaining calm at best, 4x4x4 asthma arrangement i.e. four breaths for each puff every four minutes.
One must continue the medicine one is taking including the inhalers with steroids. Stopping medication without the knowledge of the healthcare provider can prove fatal. It is best to take the advice of the healthcare professional to be on the safer side. Avoid being in a crowded area especially when the people in the crowded area are presumably sick. We are emotional beings and strong emotions can also trigger asthma therefore it is very much necessary to balance our emotional self. Our stress and anxiety need to be settled.
Sanitation is very necessary when you know that you have visited and returned from a contaminated area. The contaminated area can leave you sick without even you knowing therefore it is best to wash oneself after every return from outside one’s home. An alcohol-based sanitization should be considered seriously. The moment you spot out an asthma trigger try to avoid it at best. If we do not consider asthma to be a serious disease then it would be like not considering air necessary for us to breathe. But we know how important air is for us or atleast oxygen is for us in the current day and time. It is highly necessary that we become aware of this disease and protect ourselves from the great harm that may wait for us. May we all breathe freely and live a happy, healthy, and fruitful life.
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