Asthma is an inflammatory condition of the lungs in which the airways become narrow and swollen and there is an excess production of mucus. These conditions make it difficult for the patient to breathe normally and causes wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. It can be a minor situation for some people while for others, it can become a major health condition. Asthma attack can sometimes become so severe that it can be life threatening. This serious condition is known to affect nearly 100 to 150 million people across the globe, out of which nearly 180,000 cases result in death annually.  Even when the condition is so grave and so many people are fighting the disease everyday, there is minimal awareness among the masses about the disease. To enlighten the general public about the precaution and prevention strategies of asthma, Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) celebrates World Asthma Day on the first Tuesday of May every year. In 2018, it is being celebrated across the globe on 1st May 2018.
Asthma is not a disease of the developed countries alone. Developing countries are equally affected by the disease that has cure. Asthma can only be controlled. The disease is known to change over time and therefore it becomes essential for the patients to work with their doctors on a regular basis to track their signs and symptoms and adjust their treatment regime according to their condition.
Asthma can be due to genetic and environmental reasons and the symptoms get triggered when a person comes in contact with an allergen. Women and children are more prone to develop the condition than men
GINA believes that the world population needs to be educated about this condition so that the patients do not feel alienated from the masses and can be provided with better first aid services in case an attack occurs. A variety of interactive programs are celebrated each year in association with a number of organizers and associates like asthma educators and health care groups with the help of a sub-slogan, ‘It’s Time to Control Asthma’. Each year’s theme is decided by GINA and materials and resources are distributed to the organizers for organizing different programs. A number of health care professionals, educators, members and others participate in these events.
It has become extremely important to control the growing numbers of asthma cases around the world and a lot of efforts are required in this direction. Asthma management calls out for collaborative efforts from each and every member of the health care system as well as the general public.
World Asthma Day
Every year on the first Tuesday of May, World Asthma day is celebrated and therefore, the whole month of May is celebrated as Asthma Awareness Month in which ‘national Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) is organized to encourage people with asthma to take care of themselves.
Patients and their family members are encouraged to have a well drafted Asthma Action Plan’ (AAP) from a health care provider to help the patient prevent an asthma attack. It contains a list of medicines that need to be taken when an attack occurs and also to prevent an attack from occuring in the first place.
AAP is a huge step that has been taken by NAEPP in order to bring together clinicians, health care workers, patients and their family members on one platform with a single goal of improving the life quality of the patient.
Some of the other activities that are undertaken to spread awareness among people are:
- Motivating patients to control asthma and handle symptoms on daily basis
- Setting up free checkup camps for determining the severity of disease in the population
- Motivating patients for scheduled follow-ups at a regular interval of 6 months
- Informing patients about environmental triggers that cause asthmatic attacks
- Establishing new asthma clinics and pharmacy clinics for the people
- Using electronic and print media for distriWorld Asthma Daybuting messages like’ Fighting asthma with every breath’ among people
- Organizing quiz competitions, symposiums, debates and other such activities in schools, colleges, pharmacies and other places
- Putting up asthma awareness posters and banners put up in areas most vulnerable to asthma
World Asthma Day Objectives
World Asthma Day is organized every year to fulfill the following objectives:
- To initiate such programs like the HSE National Asthma Program (NAP) which was started by the Asthma Society of Ireland in 2010 for improving asthma care
- To identify patients who require accurate treatment of primary and secondary level on the standard guidelines
- To maximize the number of people without asthma and minimize asthma patients
- To reduce death rate in asthma patients
- To enroll asthma patients in health care facilities for proper diagnosis, treatment and care
- To decrease the number of emergency room visits and number of days spent in hospital because of asthmatic attack
World Asthma Day 2018
With a theme of ‘Never too early, never too late. It is always the right time to address airways disease’, GINA is organizing World Asthma Day on May1, 2018. This is the 20th annual World Asthma Day that is being organized in collaboration with WHO. The theme is meant to call out to patients and healthcare professionals to consider and evaluate the symptoms of a patient, irrespective of when they occur. The aim behind this theme is to control and prevent asthma in every way possible, through collaborative efforts.
Asthma is a lifelong disease that can make the lives of patients and his family members quite challenging. However, the silver lining is the disease can be managed and the symptoms can be prevented. All it takes is a collaborated effort from everyone. Patients need to believe, ‘they are stronger than Asthma’.