Wed | Jun 16, 2021

Uncovering asthma misconceptions

Published:Wednesday | May 5, 2021 | 12:12 AM

World Asthma Day (WAD) is organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma, a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborative organisation founded in 1993. WAD is held each May to raise awareness of asthma worldwide.

WHO recognises that asthma is of major public health importance. According to WHO, it was estimated that more than 339 million people had asthma globally and there were 417,918 deaths due to asthma at the global level in 2016.

Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to manage it to reduce and prevent attacks, also called episodes or exacerbations.

This year’s World Asthma Day is celebrated today, and the theme is ‘Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions’. The theme provides a call to action to address common widely held myths and misconceptions concerning asthma that prevent persons with asthma from enjoying optimal benefit from the major advances in the management of this condition.

Common misconceptions surrounding asthma

• Asthma is a childhood disease; individuals will grow out of it as they age.

• Asthma is infectious.

• Asthma sufferers should not exercise.

• Asthma is only controllable with high dose steroids.

The truth is:

• Asthma can occur at any age (in children, adolescents, adults and elderly).

• Asthma is not infectious. However, viral respiratory infections (such as common cold and the flu) can cause asthma attacks. Or in children, asthma is frequently associated with allergy, but asthma which starts in adulthood is less often allergic.

• When asthma is well controlled, asthma subjects are able to exercise and even perform top sport.

• Asthma is most often controllable with low dose inhaled steroids.

World Asthma Day was first held in 1998, and has grown each year to become one of the most important asthma events globally. On World Asthma Day, hundreds of awareness-raising activities will take place in countries all over the world.

SOURCE: World Health Organization (WHO)