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Asthma ignorance can kill this winter; HEALTH: National charity launches step-by-step 'how you can help' guide on attacks.

Byline: By Alison Dayani HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

ASTHMA patients are being warned it could be "deadly serious" to under-estimate their illness this winter.

Charity Asthma UK wants all severe sufferers to carry an Asthma Attack Card with them at all times, so people around them know what to do if they worst happens.

The move comes after a survey showed although most people know asthma can be fatal, only half know what to do if someone is having an attack.

Asthma UK has launched the Deadly Serious Campaign ahead of the winter as an estimated 80 per cent of asthma attacks in children and 60 per cent in adults are caused by respiratory viruses, brought on by the cold weather.

Erica Evans, asthma nurse specialist, said: "Someone dies of an asthma attack every six hours in the UK and yet 90 per cent of these deaths are preventable.

"That's why it is so important that people are aware of the steps to take when they or someone around them is having an asthma attack."

The Asthma Attack Card provides basic information on how to recognise an asthma attack and what steps to take.

People can indicate on the card what their most common signs of an attack are, and add important contact details.

In the event of an attack, the charity says, ensure sufferers use an inhaler immediately, sit them down and loosen any tight clothing, but do not lie them down.

If there is no immediate improvement, make the patient take one puff of the reliever inhaler every minute for five minutes.

If symptoms persist, call 999 or an emergency doctor and continue to take puffs on the inhaler once every minute.

Patients are urged to contact the charity for an Asthma Attack Card on 020 7786 5000.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 3, 2006
Words:298
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