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Breathe Easy - World Asthma Day

World Asthma Day is a yearly event that always takes place on the first Tuesday in May, meaning this year it falls on 7th May 2024. It was created to raise awareness of asthma, and attempt to improve asthma treatment worldwide whilst raising money for research into the condition.

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults. There's currently no cure, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it does not have a big impact on your life.

The main symptoms of asthma are:

  • A whistling sound when breathing (wheezing)

  • Breathlessness

  • A tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around it

  • Coughing

Symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse, which is known as an asthma attack.

Asthma is caused by a swelling of the breathing tubes that provide air in and out the lungs which make them sensitive, thus narrowing them. Common triggers of asthma include allergies, smoke, pollution and cold air, exercise and infections like cold or flu. By identifying triggers and following treatment plans, asthma symptoms can be kept under control.

Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it's important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment. It is best to visit a GP if you think you or your child has asthma as the GP will be able to diagnose it by asking about the symptoms and carrying out some simple tests. Treatment for asthma is usually by a small device called an inhaler that allows the user to breathe in medicines.

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