Peter, aged 11 years, has a 4-year history of recurrent asthma condition. He was first diagnosed with asthma when he was 8 years old, and currently has uncontrolled asthma attacks due to irregular follow-up visits and occasionally missed medication. He only presents to the hospital with treatment of acute asthma attack caused by asthma triggers such as infections, irritants, allergens or dramatic weather changes. The uncontrolled asthma condition not only affects his studies, but also causes mental and physical burden to his health.
The World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) that is held on the first Tuesday in May. For 2019 the World Asthma Day falls on May 7th, and the theme for this year is “STOP for Asthma: Symptom evaluation, Test response, Observe and assess, and Proceed to adjust Treatment”.
More than 70% of asthmatic patients do not adhere to follow-up visit, and 67.2% do not take medications/prescription drugs
Asthma is a common chronic disease with clinical symptom of chronic coughing and wheezing. The prolonged inflamed respiratory tracts of asthma patients are more susceptible to asthma trigger substances. Many asthma patients chose not to take medications or stop taking medication, especially during periods when they do not have asthma symptoms. This may cause asthma attack, and in some extreme cases, could cause respiratory failure or even death.
According to the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the prevalence of asthma in children under 12 years old is 5.6%, of which 73.3% do not adhere to follow-up visit, and 67.2% do not use prescription drugs. In order to prevent recurrent asthma attack, individuals with asthma should reduce exposure to asthma trigger substances (dust mites, pollen, second-hand smoke, viral infection, etc.). In addition, patients should follow doctor’s instruction in taking medication and routine follow up visit is necessary.
Five Tips to Prevent from Asthma Attack:
Dr. Ying-Wei Wang, Director General of the Health Promotion Administration, provides five tips to properly control asthma in daily life to prevent asthma attacks, and ensure better quality of life and health:
Tip 1: Routine follow-up clinical visits and take medications regularly:
Individuals with asthma condition should take medicines regularly to prevent inflammation in the airway. Parents or caretakers should follow doctor’s order to help teach children on how to use asthma medications properly. Routine follow-up clinical visit is necessary with asthmatic children to properly manage and control asthma.
Tip 2: Reduce exposure to asthma trigger substances and clean regularly:
Allergens like dust mites, pet hair and dust are commonly found in beddings, stuffed toys, cloth and even corner areas. These substances can cause asthma attack in individuals with asthma. Cleaning should be done regularly; use vacuum cleaner or damp cloth instead of broom to prevent dust and allergens from flying off. Wear a mask when cleaning and ensure rooms are well-ventilated.
Tip 3: Wear a mask or face covering to protect your airways:
Individuals with asthma are more likely to be infected with virus infection. If you have symptoms of colds or flu, get treated as early as possible. Minimize your exposure to cold air and asthma triggers such as allergens, air pollution irritants (pollen, cigarette smoke, exhaust emissions etc.), as they may trigger an asthma attack. Wear a mask or face covering and keep warm to protect your airways.
Tip 4: Limit intakes of cold food:
Limit intakes on food such as ice cream or cold drinks etc., as they may cause bronchospasm for patients with coughing or phlegm asthmatic condition. Stay on track with the follow-up treatment plan and take your medicines at regular intervals.
Tip 5: Perform self-assessment on your asthma situation and stay updated:
Determine your level of asthma situation with the use of the Asthma Control Assessment form by GINA. Discuss and talk to your doctor for appropriate treatment for uncontrolled asthma.