Help raise funds for World Asthma Day

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Published: Tuesday 2nd May 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Today is World Asthma Day. We spoke to Craig Salter, co-founder of Breathe for Cameron, about key symptoms of the common lung condition.

Breathe for Cameron is a Hull-based charity that raises awareness of asthma. They provide emergency inhaler equipment for schools in their mission to help more people understand the potentially life-threatening condition.

Set up in 2015, following the devastating loss of 10-year-old Cameron Good, the charity has worked hard to make Hull asthmatic-friendly.

“In early 2015, legislation had been passed by the government to allow schools to carry emergency inhalers and spacers,” Craig tells us.

“So we decided to set up the charity as a legacy to Cameron. We now provide all schools in Hull with these emergency inhalers. This year, we’re branching out into the East Riding too.”

5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for the lung condition. 1.1 million of these are children.

“Although the prevalence of asthma is thought to have plateaued since the late 1990s, our country has some of the highest rates in Europe. On average, three people die each day as a result of the condition.”

Craig also tells us that not many people take the condition seriously. This is why World Asthma Day and the work that the Breathe for Cameron team delivers are so important.

“There’s definitely a stigma attached. People associate the condition with the common cold and don’t take it seriously enough.”

Cameron is proof that asthma is a life-threatening condition: “It’s the number one long-term illness in the UK,” Craig adds.

This is why it is vital for us all to understand and know the signs, symptoms and causes.

“There are so many triggers for an asthma attack. A main one is pollen from trees and grass,” Craig explains. “Outdoor and household pollution are two other common triggers for asthma.”

Surprisingly, Craig says that thunderstorms can also result in an asthma attack:

“The uplift before the storm drags up all of the pollen. This is broken up into smaller particles, which then return to the air we breathe when it rains.”

Another reason that awareness needs to be raised is that asthma is difficult to diagnose, especially when children are of a young age.

“Usually, a diagnosis cannot be given until the child is five years old. There’s no simple test and it’s more of an observation that respiratory nurses will carry out.”

On top of this, asthma cannot be cured. Although children can often grow out of it naturally, individuals affected by asthma may continue to live with the condition throughout adolescence and adulthood.

“Adults can develop asthma as well,” Craig warns. “Especially if their work involves a lot of fumes or asthma-triggering pollution.”

Some of the main symptoms of the condition include wheezing and coughing:

“Each person is different, but coughing on a night is a telltale sign that their condition is getting worse. Children will often complain of a stomach ache if they are about to have an attack.”

Meanwhile, those in the midst of an attack may get blue lips and have a blue tinge to their cheeks.

So, how can people get involved with Breathe for Cameron?

“For World Asthma Day, we’re running a 24-hour-donate-a-thon,” says Craig. “We’re also organising a profile photo change on Facebook.”

Breathe for Cameron is working with local schools throughout the month to raise money through non school uniform days and other activities.

“We want to extend the awareness raising across the whole of May,” Craig enthuses.

“If we inform and educate the children today, they will be better equipped to deal with asthma when they are adults. This will hopefully result in the asthma mortality rate dropping in years to come.”

To find out more, visit Breathe for Cameron at breathecharity.org.uk and like their Facebook page.

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Published: Tuesday 2nd May 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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