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World Asthma Day

The asthma charity of Bermuda was forced to cancel its public demonstration for World Asthma Day today for public safety.

But Tracy Nash, the director of asthma education at Open Airways, said that it was still important for people with asthma to take care of their breathing, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: “Well-controlled asthma is basically the best defence against potential complications from this coronavirus.

“When you have uncontrolled asthma you have inflammation in your airways and although we don't know a whole lot about this coronavirus we know that it also causes inflammation, so you don't want to make your situation worse by having uncontrolled asthma.”

Ms Nash said that the asthma charity has celebrated World Asthma Day, an annual event that aims to spread awareness about the disease, for about 20 years.

She admitted that, while it often held a large demonstration at Hamilton City Hall with entertainment and educational booths, this year it had to scrap any plans for a public event.

Ms Nash added that it would instead hold a livestream on its Facebook page at noon today for people to learn more about asthma.

She said: “We're definitely trying to make sure people still know that we're around, we can still help and we're still available.”

Ms Nash said that Open Airways had created a medication fund to help provide asthma medication for those who needed it during the pandemic.

She explained that the fund, which had been started in April through anonymous donations, aimed to help those who had been laid off purchase their medication. Ms Nash said that Open Airways had also received a spike in calls shortly after Government safety procedures had started.

She said that most people asked about the proper way to use their inhalers, as well as when and how often.

Ms Nash said that it was important for people to use their preventer inhalers daily in the morning and the evening in order to keep their asthma under control.

She added that people must stay away from triggers — such as certain airborne chemicals, pollen, or dust and pet dander — to better maintain their health.

Ms Nash said: “The good news is that someone with asthma is no more likely to get this coronavirus than anybody else if they're practicing good social distancing and hand hygiene.

“They're not actually more likely to get it, it's just that, potentially, if they do get it they may get a more severe form of the symptoms because they have asthma.

“If you've got severe asthma you are potentially more likely to have problems, so well-controlled asthma is definitely the best defence.”

Ms Nash recommended people develop an “asthma action plan” with their doctor to see how severe their asthma was and how best to control it.

She said that Open Airways could help organise an action plan over e-mail by contacting her at nurse@openairways.com or Liz Boden, the president of the charity, at liz@openairways.com.

Last year's World Asthma Day at City Hall. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 05, 2020 at 12:54 pm (Updated May 05, 2020 at 12:54 pm)

World Asthma Day

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