Living with asthma amid the pandemic has taken its toll

Asthma patients had avoided attending A&E during Covid

Living with asthma amid the pandemic has taken its toll

Covid presents challenges for asthma sufferers

Donegal families who have to deal with asthma on a daily basis might be interested to know that as part of Asthma Awareness Week, the Asthma Society of Ireland shared the findings of April 2021 patient and carer research which highlighted 90% of people with asthma would accept a Covid-19 vaccination, but that only 31% were vaccinated to date despite living with a respiratory illness.

50% of those surveyed had had an asthma attack in the past year. 14% had experienced an attack in the past four weeks alone, 19% in the past six months and a further 16% in the past 12 months.

Worryingly, 26% of respondents said that they had avoided attending A&E with their asthma despite experiencing these asthma emergencies.

71% said that they were concerned about contracting a more severe form of Covid-19 as a result of their asthma. 38% admitted that they have avoided healthcare services in the past year as they were concerned about the health impact of Covid-19.

Living with respiratory illness amid the pandemic has taken its toll on the 380,000 people with asthma in Ireland. 56% felt there was not enough information for people with respiratory conditions and 36% reported mental health challenges due to the prolonged lockdown.

Sarah O’Connor, chief executive of the Asthma Society said taken as a whole, the research does not paint a picture of Ireland as being an “asthma friendly” or an “asthma safe” country.

"Every single person surveyed was on asthma medication but 80% felt that their asthma was not considered to be a life threatening condition by the general public.

"Unfortunately this is far from the case and, on average, one person in Ireland dies every week as a result of their asthma.

"Only 20% of people felt their condition was taken seriously as an illness by family and friends and just 13% felt it was taken seriously as an illness at work, said Ms O'Connor.

She added: "We really need to change these attitudes as Ireland has one of the highest prevalence rates of asthma in the world with one in 10 children and one in 13 adults living with the condition.”

As part of Asthma Awareness Week, The Love Your Lungs Virtual Conference, supported by GSK, featured talks from healthcare experts Dr Marcus Butler, Dr Dermot Nolan, Prof Des Cox, and Nurse Ruth Morrow.

The conference aimed to support asthma patients through the unique challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, to provide expert respiratory advice and lifestyle suggestions, and encourage best practice asthma management.

It is available to watch back on asthma.ie

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