Find out how World Asthma Day raises awareness about this disease and how you can get involved.
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the air passages in the lungs. Inflammation causes a temporary narrowing of these passages, resulting in breathlessness, coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest. Symptoms can recur several times in one day and may become worse at night or during physical activity.
While there is no cure for asthma, sufferers can help control the symptoms by taking medications and avoiding triggers such as pollen, dust mites, tobacco smoke and air pollution.
What is the purpose of World Asthma Day?
World Asthma Day is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and is held on the first Tuesday in May. It works with healthcare groups around the world with the aim of improving asthma awareness and care.
In Australia, several groups, including the National Asthma Council Australia, support World Asthma Day. The day consists of forums, media events, free asthma screenings, education on asthma management and fundraising events held by healthcare organisations and individuals working in the medical field.
What's on the agenda for 2017?
The date for this years World Asthma Day is Tuesday 2 May 2017, but no information is currently available re 2017 theme or planned events in Australia. Watch this space for updates.
How can I help?
GINA provides free resources via their website for healthcare organisations, charities and members of the public wishing to organise an awareness activity for World Asthma Day. Such activities could include the following:
- Free asthma screening at clinics and hospitals
- Holding a forum to discuss local factors affecting asthma sufferers
- Telling your asthma story to the local media
- Setting up a free asthma telephone help line
- Educating children at schools about asthma
- Organising a fundraiser such as a sponsored walk, swim or run
Don't want to organise an event? There are many other ways to help raise asthma awareness throughout the year such as:
- Sharing asthma information on your social media networks
- Donating to a non-profit asthma organisation
- Volunteering with an asthma organisation
- Handing out asthma literature at public events
- Contacting local politicians and asking for their support in raising asthma awareness
- Writing a blog or opinion piece on asthma and posting it on public websites