What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition involving very sensitive airways in the lungs. Muscles surrounding the airways constrict, narrowing the passageway, making it very difficult to breathe. The lining of the airways becomes inflamed and swollen, and an excess of mucus clogs the airways and makes breathing even more difficult.

What are the Symptoms of Asthma?

a) Wheezing
b) Shortness of breath
c) Chest tightness
d) Coughing
The earlier you recognize these symptoms, the better chance you have of preventing a serious Asthma attack.

What are some of the Triggers of Asthma?

a) The house dust mite
b) Cigarette smoke, and smoke or exhaust from cars and buses
c) Strong odors, including perfumes and household cleaners
d) Respiratory infections and colds
e) Exercise
f) Pollen
g) Mould
h) Sudden changes in temperature
i) Emotional anxiety and excitement
j) Animal allergens and secretions

How can I make sure that my Asthma is under control?

Asthmatics should learn the correct use of the Asthma inhaler. Poor technique is the most common reason why inhaled medicines fail to control Asthma. Spacing Devices are available for young children and the elderly, and for those who are unable to master the inhaler technique.
Asthmatics should always carry their Asthma inhaler with them at all times, and they should never be embarrassed to use it in public.
Asthmatics should never run out of their medication and should always keep an adequate supply at home.

Is Asthma only found in children?

Asthma is the most common childhood disease, although it is also found in adults. Seventy-five percent of children with Asthma have a relatively mild form, which can be controlled with medication. Most children with Asthma have allergies.

How can schools become more involved with an Asthmatic child?

Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism. Parents of a child with Asthma should discuss this condition with the school nurse, the principal, and all teachers. A written description of the child’s condition – which includes a plan to manage attacks, guidelines and limitations regarding physical activity, whom to contact in an emergency, and where to seek emergency treatment – should be given to all school personnel.

Can Asthma Be Cured?

Asthma cannot be cured, but can be controlled with the help of your doctor and a self-management plan. The goal is to prevent Asthma attacks by learning what triggers your attacks and to try to avoid these triggers where possible.

Can I exercise if I have Asthma?

You can still exercise if you have Asthma. Asthma should NOT usually prevent you from exercise or activity. Exercise is important for everyone. However, exercising may cause asthma symptoms. Talk to your doctor who may recommend specific exercise advice suited to your needs.

Can Second-hand smoke affect Asthma?

Second-hand smoke is known to affect the severity of Asthma symptoms. Children who breathe in second-hand smoke may suffer from more colds, ear infections and breathing problems than children who live in smoke-free homes.

How can I join the Asthma Association to learn more about Asthma?

Asthmatics are urged to join The Asthma Association of Barbados to learn more about their condition simply by filling out a Membership Form. Annual membership is $24 for adults and $12 for children under 12 years of age. Members are entitled to purchase either a Peak Flow Meter or a Spacing Device at a nominal cost.