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22 February 2019

Asthma in the news again

Recent headlines highlight that young people in the UK are more likely to die from Asthma than those in other wealthy countries. Read how Olivia is hoping to make a change.

Olivia Inhaler

The study from the Nuffield Trust Think Tank and the Association for Young People's Health found that, while young people in the UK are making healthier choices, nearly 1 in 5 are living with a long-standing health condition. Death rates for Asthma in 10-24-year-olds was the highest in the UK among all 14 European nations.

Asthma is so misunderstood as a condition

Olivia Fulton writes of her concerns that alongside these reports, media outlets often use out-of-date stock images that do not reflect current guidelines and will do little to drastically improve the horrendous asthma statistics.

Asthma has been in the news a lot recently, most of this has been reports on how awful the asthma care is for those with asthma in the UK.
It is not all negative and there has been the odd positive bit of reporting such as new drugs being developed or gaining approval for use from NICE or the Scottish Medicines Consortium
Most written reports both negative and positive have one common theme which is the use of pictures. These pictures are not promoting good inhaler technique as there is a lack of spacer which is recommended in guidelines produced for asthma management. For anybody no matter how young or old when using a MDI (metered dose inhaler) inhaler also known as a puffer should be using a spacer device to ensure the medication in the inhaler gets into the airways and work where it is needed. Using an MDI without a spacer will often result in the medication being left on your tongue or the back of your throat and not in your lungs. The spacer will prevent this.
Asthma is so misunderstood as a condition. It is essential that media outlets use images which are in date and reflect the current recommendations made by SIGN, BTS or NICE who are the tasked with developing pathways for asthma management. The media using images which reflect correct technique won’t drastically improve the horrendous asthma statistics in the UK but it will make people more aware of the use of a spacer along with their inhaler rather than the inhaler on its own.
Small changes like this can help influence bigger changes in the future. If inhaler technique is correct then the lungs are getting the treatment they require to prevent the asthma from flaring up and therefore will in turn reduce asthma exacerbations, hospital admissions and even asthma death.
Please share this post as it is vital that the media start using new photographs with people using inhalers as recommended in current guidelines.

What help is available?

AsthmaUK are leading the way in supporting younger people with Asthma. There is good evidence to show that just three elements of basic asthma care can cut your risk of needing emergency treatment and reduce any symptoms affecting your life.

  1. Use a written Asthma Action Plan.
  2. Check your inhaler technique.
  3. Book in your annual asthma review.

There is lots you can do for yourself and with your GP or Nurse to make sure you get the care you deserve. Need help getting started? Then get in touch with AsthmaUK today.

You can read more from Olivia over at her blog: