Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2014 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Asthma UK said in some cases poor technique
led to people being put on stronger inhalers than
they actually needed.
And studies by Allergy UK suggest people struggle
with instructions on auto-injectors in allergy emer-
The charities are calling for better training for
patients and NHS staff.
The warning comes after a separate US study
revealed only 16 per cent of those prescribed adrenalin
auto-injectors in case of a potentially life-threatening
allergic reaction used them properly.
Common errors included not holding the device
in place for at least ten seconds and not pushing
down forcefully enough with the needle to allow the
In the same study, only seven per cent of asthma
sufferers were found to use asthma inhalers in the
right way, researchers reported in Annals of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology.
Study leader Dr Rana Bonds from the University
of Texas Medical Branch said the results suggested
people weren t properly trained in using the devices
in the first place or "forgot the instructions over
Maureen Jenkins, clinical director of Allergy UK,
said she was not at all surprised by the findings.
She said because there were different designs of
inhalers and auto-injectors, people needed to get
specific advice for the exact ones they had, which
often did not happen.
"We have just finished a leaflet on allergic asthma
which talks about proper use of these devices."
She added that pharmacists were ideally placed
to talk patients through using the devices when they
picked them up from the chemist.
Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and
policy at Asthma UK, said even though in theory
everyone with an inhaler should have their technique
checked annually, figures showed a third of people
with asthma make mistakes with their inhalers.
And many of these mistakes are significant enough
to reduce the effectiveness of their treatments.
"This is also hugely wasteful---asthma-prescribing
is one of the most expensive areas of cost for the
NHS, costing almost £1bn annually.
"You wouldn t give someone a new car without
them having driving lessons first, so if you are going
to invest in prescribing a lifetime of asthma medicines,
it s crucial that healthcare professionals ensure that
their patients know how to use them." (BBC)
Asthma and allergy
devices 'not used properly'
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Experts say in
some cases poor
technique led to
people being put on
than they actually
Asthma affects the small airways that carry air in and
out of your lungs. From time to time, the muscles
surrounding these airways constricts after becoming
irritated by inflammation.
The airways are narrowed further as the amount of
mucus lining the airways increases and sufferers may
wheeze and struggle to draw a full breath.
Asthma is a chronic condition, which means attacks
can occur throughout your life. However, whilst there are
times when severe episodes strike, for most asthmatics
there are long periods during which they have few, if
It can affect anyone at any age, but it tends to be
worse in children and young adults.
While asthma is caused by an inflammation of the
airways, scientists don't know exactly what causes this
inflammation. Asthmatic and allergic tendencies run in
families and scientists believe there are a number of
different genes that react with environmental factors to
trigger the onset of asthma.
Whilst scientists are searching for the genes involved,
they do already know that there are a number of things
that could increase the risk of developing the condition.
• Exposure to allergens (proteins which can cause an
allergic reaction) during pregnancy---from foods in the
mother's diet, for example
• Being brought up in a house where there is a pet,
especially a cat
• Having certain illnesses as a child
• Being exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb or
• Having allergies to things such as pollen, house-dust
mites and mould
• Contributing factors in the Western world include air
pollution and processed foods
WHAT IS ASTHMA?
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