New data released today by the charity Asthma UK highlights that more than two thirds of people in the South East (68%) would not know what to do if someone were to have a potentially life threatening asthma attack2.
Someone in the UK has an asthma attack every 10 seconds, yet many people wouldn’t know how to help someone if they were struggling to breathe. The charity is particularly concerned that one in every 11 people (9% of respondents) don’t think that asthma attacks can kill. Three children in every classroom have asthma, making it the most common long term condition in childhood, so Asthma UK urges parents to understand how serious asthma can be and what to do to help a child having an asthma attack.
Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, says: “These results demonstrate that asthma as a condition is not being taken seriously enough. The Royal College of Physicians’ themselves highlighted that ‘complacency in asthma care must end’ in the National Review of Asthma Deaths, 2014. What people don’t realise is that much like a heart attack, an asthma attack is a medical emergency. Asthma attacks can and do kill. It’s essential that people know how to manage their asthma to avoid attacks, we mustn’t be complacent. Tragically two thirds of asthma deaths are preventable with good basic care.”
Dr Walker adds: “One of saddest things I’ve heard was from a mother whose son died following an asthma attack who told me ‘I never knew that asthma could kill. I just wish someone had told me.’ That’s why it is so important that people with asthma manage their condition well and avoid having an asthma attack in the first place. People who use a written asthma action plan are four times less likely to be hospitalised because of an asthma attack and you can download one from our website www.asthma.org.uk. Despite this only 35% of people with asthma have one. Everyone must take asthma seriously.”