By Z. K
Tue, 05, 23

World Asthma Day is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world. You! takes a look...


world asthma day

Millions of people all over the world suffer from Asthma, which means that most people know someone who suffers from it. Those who have someone with asthma in their lives are typically familiar with the ‘psst psst’ sound of the inhalers that make a relatively normal day-to-day life possible for the ones who use them.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes breathing difficulty. The most common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma tends to run in families and is more likely in people who have other allergic diseases. Several other factors can increase the risk of asthma such as a low birth weight, exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution or overweight. Various factors are associated with an increased risk of asthma, including environmental factors, genetic predisposition, and lifestyle factors, although it is difficult to find one single direct cause.

The World Health Organization estimates that 235 million people suffer from asthma, globally.

Asthma can be controlled by taking medicine and avoiding the triggers that can cause an attack. The known aggravators of asthma are many and include everything from allergens to air pollution, and other chemicals that can appear in the environment which irritate the lungs. However, with inhaled medications, people can live a normal, active life.


Tips for Coping with Asthma

* Seek the advice of a medical professional. Follow the treatment plan they prescribe you and review your medication regularly.

* Be prepared - always carry a reliever inhaler and an identity card that tells people what to do in the event of an emergency.

* Keep fit - exercise raises your heart rate, boosts the strength of your lungs/immune system, improves your mood and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

* Avoid triggers - learn to recognise and manage what triggers your asthma attacks. This will help you to control how frequently you have them.

* If you are a smoker, quit. For children, try - if possible - to limit the amount of time they spend in highly polluted areas.

World Asthma Day

World Asthma Day is observed on the first Tuesday of May every year. This year it falls on May 2. World Asthma Day is dedicated to raising awareness about this pernicious disease. And, it also seeks to bring awareness and advanced asthma care to sufferers throughout the world.

It is organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), a World Health Organization collaborative organisation founded in 1993.

GINA has chosen ‘Asthma Care for All’ as the theme for the 2023 World Asthma Day.

The majority of the burden of asthma morbidity and mortality occurs in low and middle income countries. GINA strives to reduce this burden by encouraging health care leaders to ensure availability of and access to effective, quality-assured medications. The ‘Asthma Care for All’ message promotes the development and implementation of effective asthma management programmes in all resource countries.

The first World Asthma Day was observed in 1998, with the participation of more than 35 countries. With an increasing number of participants each year since then, Asthma Day has become one of the most significant asthma awareness and education events worldwide.

Global Initiative for Asthma organises this day every year, in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

Significance of World Asthma Day

World Asthma Day is important because it raises awareness about the disease, along with its symptoms and treatment. If not properly treated, asthma can lead to many other health issues.

This day allows people the opportunity to interact with healthcare professionals about the causes, symptoms and treatment of asthma. GINA and other healthcare organisations also do free screening for asthma on this day. World Asthma Day also involves advertising, talks and interviews, and community debates and quiz competitions in schools and colleges.

For those who have had trouble breathing for any reason, World Asthma Day would be the ideal opportunity to get a health screening. Or have a health screening for kids to make sure that they are not at risk for problems with asthma. No matter what, it’s always a good idea to check with a doctor right away, anytime an adult or child has any problems with breathing!

Plus, it’s also the time to do what is possible to help other sufferers in the world at large by sharing that information. Perhaps, make a post on social media to let people know about World Asthma Day and encourage them to learn more and celebrate also. It might even be a good idea to organise a promotional event at the office to widen the scope of people who are made aware of the day.

Debunking myths about Asthma: For those who already have friends or family members who suffer from asthma, this is the opportunity to take the time to get further educated on it. One good way to begin is by learning a few important facts about asthma, like these:

* Everyone grows out of their childhood asthma. The truth is asthma is not a childhood disease. In fact, it can occur at any age, including childhood, adolescence, adulthood and even the elderly.

* Asthma is only controllable with high dose steroids. The fact is it can often be controlled with low dose steroids that are inhaled.

* Asthma is infectious. The reality is asthma is not infectious. This is a disease of the lungs that is not contagious and cannot be ‘caught’. However, asthma attacks can be associated with viral respiratory infections or even allergies.

* People with asthma shouldn’t exercise. On the contrary, people with asthma can exercise and perform sports.