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Asthma puts five people a day in hospital

Up to five people a day still visit the hospital's emergency ward because of asthma attacks.

Liz Boden, co-founder of Open Airways, said that while numbers had fallen over the past two decades Bermuda still had a “huge” problem with asthma.

Ms Boden said: “The good news is that we've got hospital admissions down by 76 per cent.

“The bad news still is that about five people every day go into emergency for asthma.

“That tells us that in one breath we're doing really well and in one breath we're doing really badly because every visit is avoidable.

“Every visit tells us that asthma management has failed.”

She added: “The big message is that you can control your asthma.”

Ms Boden said there were about 8,000 people in Bermuda with asthma — one in five schoolchildren and one in ten adults.

She added: “In the United States, it's one in ten children and one in 11 children in the UK. In other words, it's a huge problem here.”

She added: “There are many more whose lives are impacted because it's very distressing if you've got a child coughing all night.

“Mum, dad, the siblings — nobody sleeps well so they go to school tired, to work tired, exhausted and don't perform well.

“It's definitely a community problem and it's a huge problem in Bermuda.”

Ms Boden said asthma had been on the rise in developed countries for the past 50 years.

She added: “In those 50 years, certainly in Bermuda, we've seen the crime level rise so we can no longer leave our homes unlocked, windows are shut.

“An airtight, hot, humid environment is perfect for mildew, mould, the dust-mites, which are three big triggers.”

Ms Boden said preventive medication was essential because it is impossible to avoid all asthma triggers such as allergens, smoke and household chemicals.

She added: “They take up to two weeks to be effective — you must take these every day to keep your asthma away.”

Ms Boden said the best medication was a combination inhaler that relaxes the muscles around the airways and controls inflammation.

She added: “They are easy to use and are safe and effective for anyone over the age of six.”

Open Airways has been working for the past 20 years to help Bermuda breathe easier.

It will mark World Asthma Day with an event at City Hall today from 11.30am to 2pm.

Ms Boden said: “The idea is to raise awareness and improve care.

“Our theme this year is Love Your Lungs. We want everybody to be active with asthma. Exercise is for everybody.

“Because you have asthma, you must never have the excuse that you can't go for a walk, can't run, can't go to the gym — you should be able to do anything.”

Asthma nurses and physiotherapists will at the event to advise people on how manage their asthma and show how to use spacer devices properly.

Free pillows and microfibre cloths — to encourage people to stop using chemical products — will be on offer while supplies last.

The charity has also organised a short walk around City Hall as part of the event.

Registration costs $20 and Open Airways will give away themed T-shirts.

• To register for the walk or to make a donation, visit ptix.bm

For more information, contact Open Airways at 232-0264, nurse@openairways.com, openairways.com or the Open Airways Facebook page.

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Published May 01, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated May 01, 2018 at 7:53 am)

Asthma puts five people a day in hospital

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