BHB, Open Airways and the Department of Health Celebrate World Asthma Day

YOU Can Control your Asthma

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB), Open Airways and the Department of Health invite the public to a World Asthma Day Fair on Tuesday, 1 May from 11:30am to 2:30pm at City Hall. Asthma and allergy education, free spacer devices and microfiber cloths will be provided to people with asthma, while supplies last. The event will be officially opened at 12:00pm noon by Minister of Health, the Hon. Zane De Silva. Healthcare professionals from all three organizations, as well as from the community, will offer lung function tests for smokers and former smokers over the age of 40.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by recurrent breathing problems and symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing.

Minister De Silva said: “Asthma is a common, disabling, disruptive, life threatening and treatable condition. The Global Initiative theme this year is YOU Can Control Your Asthma. The Department of Health is encouraging everyone who has asthma to take control and learn how to manage their asthma. See your doctor, make an appointment with an asthma nurse and get a personal Asthma Action Plan. No one need suffer with asthma.”

Debbie Barboza, BHB Asthma Nurse Educator said: “Asthma affects approximately 12% of our community, Over 9000 people here in Bermuda are affected by asthma and many suffer unnecessarily every day because of poorly controlled asthma. Yet people can control their disease and minimize incidents with proper diagnoses, education and treatment.”

Liz Boden, Nurse Educator for Open Airways, said: “Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be effectively treated. Research shows that with proper treatment, nearly all asthma patients can achieve and maintain good asthma control, enabling them to participate in school, work and other normal activities.”

Jennifer Wilson, Community Health Nurse for the Department of Health, said: “An individualized asthma action plan is necessary to successfully control this condition. At school, it serves as a communication tool for the student, parents or guardians, the healthcare provider and school personnel.”

While hospital admissions from asthma-related incidents are decreasing, the Emergency Department at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital reported handling over 2,029 cases of asthma last year. Half these cases were children. Despite an increase in the number of people affected by asthma in most countries, Bermuda’s decline in hospitalizations since 1995 is the result of extensive education campaigns. This week’s World Asthma Day Fair is designed to reach those impacted by asthma on our Island and provide them with information to gain control over their condition.

Both the hospital and Open Airways offer asthma education and assessment and teach clients how to achieve the best results with the least amount of medication. The goal is developing self-management skills. Patients who become informed decision-makers play an important role in reducing asthma-related incidents. Members of the public who experience uncontrolled asthma are urged to attend the Fair for information and support and to contact Open Airways at 232-0264 or the BHB Asthma Education Centre at 239-1652.

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Notes to editors:
The Asthma Education Centre handles 300 patient visits annually and provides clients with information on recognizing and understanding warning signals and asthma triggers, as well as how to avoid them. Patients are taught how to effectively take inhaled medications with minimal side effects and how to use a spacer. An Action Plan, or personal guideline for controlling asthma, teaches clients to evaluate their condition through breathing measurements or symptoms.

Signs that asthma is not being well-controlled:
• Coughing, wheezing or a tight chest because of asthma more than twice a week
• Being awaken at night due to coughing, wheezing or a tight chest more than twice a month
• Limiting activities because of asthma more than twice a month
• Missing time from work or school because of asthma in the last 3 months
• Using a rescue /reliever (usually blue) inhaler more than twice a week

The Asthma Education Centre is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, by appointment only. For further inquiries or to book an appointment call Debbie Barboza, Asthma Nurse Educator at 239-1652 or send an email to
asthmacentre@bermudahospitals.bm

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