Two out of three people with asthma currently do not have an Asthma Action plan, according to a survey undertaken by the Asthma Society, launched today by Minister for Health Simon Harris as part of Asthma Awareness Week. The research was conducted after recent figures for asthma deaths show they are on the rise. One person now dies every five days from asthma.
The Asthma Society of Ireland is encouraging the 5,587 people in Kilkenny with uncontrolled asthma to reduce their risk of a fatal asthma attack by getting an Asthma Action Plan. The survey was conducted April/May 2019, with 1,081 respondents.
Asthma Society CEO, Sarah O’Connor, said: “It is truly frightening that asthma deaths are on the rise in Ireland – a person now dies every five days in Ireland from asthma. Our Asthma Management survey, launched today, highlighted a huge lack of awareness of how to manage asthma. The survey results showed that, in the event of an asthma attack, most people wouldn’t know the necessary steps to take to save a life (the 5 Step Rule).
Every person who has asthma should be in possession of an Asthma Action Plan – UK research into asthma deaths indicated that having an up-to-date Asthma Action Plan made it significantly less likely that a person would experience a fatal asthma attack. This Asthma Awareness Week we are calling on people all over the country to put an Asthma Action Plan in place.”
Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said: “I am strongly supporting the Asthma Society’s campaign today, encouraging people to take control of their asthma. Asthma management is extremely important. It allows people with the condition to live a longer, healthier and happier life. I encourage everyone to put an Asthma Action Plan in place – it is the one of the best asthma management tools available. People with asthma can work with their GP or asthma nurse or phone the Asthma and COPD Adviceline for help to create their personalised plan on 1800 44 54 64.”
The Asthma Management survey found that:
Two out of three people with asthma do not have an Asthma Action Plan
Two out of three people with asthma have not spoken to their healthcare professional in the last six months
Only 63% of people surveyed knew there was a 5 Step Rule for managing an asthma attack
69% people with asthma would not know the 5 Step Rule to manage an asthma attack
Half of people with asthma use their reliever inhaler more than the recommended twice a week
Three out of five people with asthma do not use their controller inhaler all year round
Nine out of ten people with asthma do not carry an Asthma Attack Card with them at all times
One in five people with asthma would not know the six most common symptoms of an asthma attack
As part of this campaign, the Asthma Society has produced two videos – both provide tips about asthma management. One very emotive video features Ciara Kelly who lost her mother to an asthma attack in 2018 and the other video features Michael McDonagh who shares his story of how he got in control of his asthma, getting his life back on track.
The Asthma Society will kick off its first ever Asthma Roadshow during Asthma Awareness Week. This roadshow will travel around the country to help people get in control of their asthma. The roadshow’s next stop is Mahon Point Shopping Centre in Cork on 8 May (12 noon to 4pm), Eyre Square Shopping Centre on 9 May (2-6pm) and Letterkenny Retail Park on 10 May (12 noon to 4pm). People with asthma are encouraged to attend these events where they can meet with a respiratory specialist nurse one to one about getting in control of their asthma. These events are designed to be family friendly and feature activities/games to get children to learn about and accept their own asthma or that of a friend or family member.
The inaugural Asthma Awareness Week runs from 4-10 May and is kindly supported by Boots Ireland and GSK.
Susan O’Dwyer (Pharmacy Strategy Manager for Boots Ireland) said: “We are delighted to partner with the Asthma Society for Asthma Awareness Week. With our “Let’s Breathe Easy” consultations available year round our pharmacists are ideally placed to support people with asthma to better manage their medication and condition - providing advice on inhaler technique, asthma control and the creation of an Asthma Action Plan. We are encouraging people with asthma to attend for a free ‘Let’s Breathe Easy’ consultation in their local Boots pharmacy throughout the month of May to get some valuable advice and to pick up an Asthma Action Plan.”
Jon Barbour (Director of Medical Affairs for GSK Ireland) said:
“GSK is proud to support this campaign — we encourage people with asthma to fill out their Asthma Action Plan with a healthcare professional. We share the Asthma Society’s mission to save and improve the lives of people with asthma and we are committed to helping those with the condition to do more, feel better and live longer. “
Asthma Action Plans can be downloaded from asthma.ie or ordered over the phone at 1800 44 54 64 (delivered for free) or picked up at any Boots pharmacy nationwide. They help to identify asthma triggers, manage symptoms, correctly take medication and, vitally, informing people how to know if someone is experiencing an asthma emergency and how to use the 5 Step Rule to manage an attack.
To support the Asthma Society, text BREATHE to 50300 TO DONATE €4 (Text costs €4. Asthma Society of Ireland will receive a minimum of €3.25.Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278)
People are welcome to phone the Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 to get a free personalised pack sent to them. The Adviceline service allows users to call a respiratory nurse specialist for free to discuss their Action Plan and any other questions they may have on asthma management.
People with asthma should carry an Asthma Attack Card with them at all times. This card details the 5 Step Rule for managing an attack and the symptoms and can be given to a member of the public if help is required. This card also contains the person’s emergency details including their next of kin.