Urgent warning issued to millions with asthma ahead of this weekend

Urgent warning issued to millions with asthma ahead of this weekend

11/04/2021

BRITS with asthma have been warned to start taking measures to protect themselves now in order to avoid a deadly attack this bonfire weekend.

Particles of smoke caused by fireworks and bonfires could trigger symptoms in 3million asthma sufferers – making it hard for them to breathe.

Around 5.4million people in the UK are receiving treatment for asthma, that's around one in every 12 adults.

Everyone with asthma has different triggers and symptoms which is why not every sufferer will be affected by bonfire night.

The particles of smoke can irritate the airways, causing sufferers to become inflamed and tighten.

This results in coughing and wheezing and could result in a fatal asthma attack.

Asthma UK says that each day, three people die from an asthma attack in the UK and have suggested that Brits with the condition start taking their brown inhaler now if they are celebrating bonfire night.

By using the preventer inhaler this will help them build up protection in their airways over time so that if they do come into contact with smoke, they are less likely to have symptom.

If you are planning on going to a bonfire and firework display, you should stand well back and make sure you have your blue inhaler, usually the reliver inhaler, with you at all times.

This will help relieve any symptoms that might crop up.

Many bonfire displays were cancelled last year due to coronavirus restrictions, but despite this over 1,200 people contacted Asthma UK's helpline for advice and support.

Figures show that more than 7,600 people in November 2018 in the UK were admitted to hospital as an emergency with asthma.

Asthma UK says the number of asthma admissions are likely to be due result of cold weather, cold and flu and air pollution, such as that caused by bonfire night, as they are among the most common triggers for asthma attacks.

Community carer, Kayleigh Robus, mum to Imogen, three, knows how dangerous bonfires can be as she almost died when smoke from a neighbour’s bonfire triggered an asthma attack.

The 29-year-old from Burgess Hill in West Sussex had been playing in the garden with her daughter when she suddenly felt her chest tighten.

She said: “I rushed inside the house and took puffs on my inhaler which helped at first but it wasn’t enough and I was struggling to breathe. I couldn’t breathe in or out, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t do anything. It was horrific.

The 6 tips asthmatics needs to know to stay safe this weekend

Asthma UK has issued top tips for people with asthma on bonfire night.

  1. Remember, remember… carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times
  2. Take your preventer medicines as prescribed
  3. If you find that smoke is making you cough, stand well back
  4. Make sure you friends and family know what to do and when to get help if your asthma symptoms suddenly get worse
  5. As cold air can be an asthma trigger, wrap a thing scarf loosely over your nose and mouth; this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in
  6. Visit the Asthma UK website and share 'what to do in an asthma attack' with friends and family members

“To my amazement, Imogen called 999 and told an ambulance where we lived and I was rushed to hospital, where doctors gave me a nebuliser and steroids to save my life.

"I spent five days in hospital before I could come home. It was such a terrifying experience and if it hadn’t been for Imogen, I would have died."

Kayleigh added that the smoke from bonfires can be a serious health risk for people with asthma.

"I am urging anyone with asthma to be extra careful over the next week, and to make sure everyone in their family, however young, knows exactly what to do in the event of an asthma attack.”

Jessica Kirby, Head of Health Advice at Asthma UK said that while fireworks and bonfire displays might look pretty – if you have asthma triggered by smoke, they could land you in hospital. 

She said: "While many people will be looking forward to watching firework displays, the increased levels of smoke in the air can trigger asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath or even an asthma attack.

“The good news is if people follow our top tips such as taking their preventer inhaler (usually brown) as prescribed, keeping their reliever inhaler (usually blue) with them and making sure their family and friends know what to do if they have an asthma attack, they shouldn’t have to miss out on festivities.”

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