Asthma aware

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This week I had an asthma attack. I've not had one in years. I was diagnosed with asthma in childhood but as I got older it didn't seem to be a problem and I grew out of it. The only time I got even a hint of wheeziness was when I had a really bad cold but no actual full blown, chest wrenching, eye watering, spluttering asthma attack.

Tuesday night I went to bed and a couple of nights prior to this I'd been coughing a lot but fine during the day. I really started coughing and wheezing and it felt like a troop of elephants were doing the hokey cokey on my chest. I was sucking away on my blue inhaler which really didn't seem to relieve the discomfort. It became too uncomfortable to talk or try to settle to sleep so Mr T rang NHS 111 service for advice.

They referred us to the out of hours GP service and within an hour I had a nebuliser and was given some steroid tablets and felt a great deal stronger. I went home and slept and rested for 24 hours then as advised booked an appointment with the asthma nurse at my GP surgery.

It was a real wake up call. Asthma really must be taken seriously. I had been quite laid back about having asthma as far as I thought it didn't affect me and was in the past. Suddenly it reared his head again and really scared me.

According to the Asthma UK website "5.4 million people in the UK with asthma which means asthma affects one in every 11 people and one in five households. Every 10 seconds someone is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK. Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable". *

Asthma isn't an excuse to get out of a games lesson for people with severe asthma leaving the house or climbing stairs can be an impossible task.

I booked an appointment with the asthma nurse and she was so helpful. She gave me a full examination, checked my lung function and listened to my chest as well as asking me about my symptoms. As a result she altered my medication, moved me onto a new inhaler and gave me demonstration on how to use my inhaler and spacer correctly. We practiced a new breathing technique which ensures more of the inhaled medication reaches further into the airways and improves symptoms.

If you have asthma it's important to remember to take it seriously. Even if like me you think it doesn't affect you one day something may trigger it. We weren't able to pin down the actual trigger of my asthma attack and put it down to a mild cold that travelled to my chest.

GP's surgeries should have an asthma clinic where if you are diagnosed with asthma you can have a thorough check up, medication review and reminder how to use asthma inhalers correctly. It is always to be preventative than succumb to a crisis as I did this week.

More information on asthma research, treatments, advice and real stories can be found at the Asthma UK website. Asthma UK is a registered charity who fund research, campaign for the quality of care for people who's lives are severely affected by asthma and provide support and advice.

*information taken from Asthma UK website here

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