My View by Dr Nick Tupper: Pledge tp help Doncaster’s 26,000 asthma sufferers

Nick Tupper
Nick Tupper
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Around 26,000 Doncaster people have been diagnosed with asthma according to our latest figures. It’s a disease that can have a major impact on their quality of life if they don’t have the support they need to manage it effectively.

It’s is a condition that affects the airways and the classic symptoms include breathlessness, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.

It’s very important that people with asthma feel able to manage their condition so they can lead a normal, active life. That’s why I’m pleased that NHS Doncaster CCG has signed a pledge, created by Asthma UK, to improve care of the disease over the next 12 months.

The CCG has recognised the impact asthma can have on the quality of life of patients and their families.

The pledge includes a commitment that all asthma patients will receive a personal action plan. You can find out more by going to www.asthma.org.uk and searching for ‘action plan’.

Pharmacists are supporting the drive to help those with asthma stay well by providing free advice on how to use an inhaler. Many patients have found that they have not been getting the best from their inhaler simply because they haven’t been using it properly.

Call in at your local pharmacist and ask for a free training session, it only takes a few minutes but it could make a big difference in helping avoid an asthma attack.

Asthma can be a worry if you have children. In 2011/12 – the latest figures - over 130 Doncaster children were admitted to hospital in an emergency with asthma related problems.

That’s why it’s important that children use their preventative medication properly.

Hospital admissions for asthma traditionally peak during periods of particularly cold weather. This can be due to breathing cold air into the lungs as well as picking up colds and flu.

Here are five important ‘must do’s’ for parents of children with asthma:

•Ensure your child keeps taking their regular preventer medicines as prescribed by their doctor.

•Ensure you and your child know how to use their inhaler correctly – your GP or school nurse can also show you.

•Ensure they keep their blue reliever inhaler with them at all times.

•Ensure they wrap up well and wear a scarf over their nose and mouth – this will help to warm up the air before they breathe it in.

•Take extra care when exercising. Ensure that they warm up for 10-15 minutes and take one or two puffs of their reliever inhaler before they start.