World Asthma Day

2017-04-19 06:01

IT is World Asthma Day on Tuesday, 2 May and in South Africa, the National Asthma Education Campaign (NAEP) will be highlighting how asthma and allergies are linked. Asthma is a common condition affecting about 15% of children and one in 20 adults in this country.

People who have allergies, especially allergic rhinitis (hay-fever and/or sinus), eczema and severe food allergies, have a greater chance of developing asthma. An allergy is when someone has a bad reaction to something in the environment that other people can tolerate.

Ideally, people should avoid all things known to trigger their asthma and should know what they are allergic to: this may differ from person to person. Viral infections are the commonest precipitants of acute asthmatic attacks in allergic people, non-allergic triggers such as cigarette smoke and preservatives such as sulphur dioxide are also common triggers­.

The common allergens include house-dust mites, dogs or cats, grasses and cockroaches. A rarer trigger in very young children may be certain foods such as cow’s milk.

Seek medical advice on avoidance programmes – in addition to avoidance procedures there are very effective medicines to treat asthma.

In the vast majority of cases people who have asthma are able to lead a normal, active and happy life with full involvement in sport and all other activities.

Indoor allergens include:

• Animal danders (such as minute portions of saliva, skin or hair of cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters or even mice.

• Mould likes dark damp spaces, like pot plant soil, in mattresses, behind cupboards and under carpets laid on concrete floors.

• House dust mites are microscopic creatures living mainly in mattresses, bedding and carpet dust.

• Cockroaches eggs, droppings and bodies are all common allergens.

Outdoor allergens include:

• Pollen. Not all pollens cause allergic symptoms, however, people with pollen allergy will get asthma attacks when exposed.

NAEP is a non-profit organisation that aims to disseminate impartial information about asthma diagnosis and treatment. For more information go to, phone 021 830 5937, or 082 494 6617 or fax 086 533 4105.


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