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World Asthma Day 2016

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World Asthma Day 2016Every year since 1999 the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) designates the first Tuesday in May as World Asthma Day. This year World Asthma Day is on May 3rd. The purpose of this annual event is to raise awareness of asthma and its care around the world. Since 2007 the theme of the day has been “you can control your asthma”.

The GINA organization was set up in 1993 as a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Their goal is to improve the lives of people with asthma across the world. They do this by working with health professionals and officials to reduce the global prevalence, morbidity and mortality of asthma. The annual celebration of World Asthma Day is just one of GINA’s activities. They also regularly update and publish a global strategy for asthma management and prevention. These reports have been used as the basis for national clinical practice guidelines.

The World Health Organization estimates that asthma affects 235 million people, though other estimates place the figure at 300 million. Asthma is an issue worldwide, however more than 80% of asthma deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children. The global burden of asthma is felt not only by patients but also by their families, the health care system and society as a whole. Although there is no cure for the condition, as the theme of World Asthma Day says: you can control your asthma. This is significant, because uncontrolled asthma increases the number of missed school and work days. It is important to develop an asthma action plan with your doctor. It addition to following your doctor’s advice you should know your own asthma triggers and how best to avoid them. There are many useful websites with great information on managing asthma such as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Asthma UK and many more.

Groups all over the world organize events to coincide with World Asthma Day, and participation in the day increases every year. This year the Asthma Society of Ireland is marking the occasion with its Bubble Day, a cross-country fund raising event. Since 2007 Asthma Australia has had PJ Day, where participants wear their pyjamas to raise funds for asthma research and support programs. Asthma UK is coordinating a twitter thunderclap to spread the message of asthma awareness. The Asthma Society of Canada’s Fighting for Breath conference will gather researchers, clinicians, patients and policy makers together to examine issues related to severe asthma. For information on other events, follow the #WorldAsthmaDay hashtag on twitter.

World Asthma Day also marks the start of Asthma and Allergy awareness month. As AAFA says, it’s a good time of year to focus on these issues as May is peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers. As a designated testing laboratory for the asthma & allergy friendly® certification program, airmid healthgroup welcomes these initiatives and the focus they bring to asthma control strategies.

References and further reading