It’s a busy time of the year, with the June/July holidays just around the corner. With so much going on, the last thing on your mind is dealing with a medical crisis in the form of an asthma attack.
According to Affinity Health – providers of affordable health cover for all South Africans – holidays are synonymous with increased asthma reported cases.
What are the main causes of this respiratory condition and what factors can trigger an asthma attack?
Asthma is a long-term disease of the lungs and the most common chronic disease among children. Our country is ranked 25th worldwide for asthma prevalence and fifth for asthma mortality, with a staggering 18.5 deaths per 100,000 asthma cases.
An asthma attack (also called an asthma exacerbation) is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms caused by tightening muscles around your airways. During an asthma attack, the lining of the airways also becomes swollen or inflamed, and thicker mucus is produced. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, the condition can be life-threatening.
The most common symptom of asthma is wheezing; a squealing or whistling sound made when you breathe.
Other asthma symptoms may include:
· Coughing, especially at night, when laughing, or during exercise
· Tightness in the chest
· Shortness of breath
· Difficulty talking
· Anxiousness or panic
Several triggers can aggravate those who normally have asthma. Many, however, are triggered by weather conditions (arid, wet, or windy weather), pet dander, a particular food, mould, pollen, and dust.
“If you know that you have asthma – or suspect you may have asthma, a trip to your family doctor before leaving for your holiday can help you be more prepared should an attack occur,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“While you may not be able to eliminate your risk of an asthma attack, you’re less likely to have one if your current treatment keeps your asthma under control.”
One of the most effective medications for controlling asthma is inhaled corticosteroids, which are anti-inflammatory medications. Taken early and as directed, these well-tolerated and safe medications can improve asthma control and normalise lung function.
No matter what your holiday health woe might be, with Affinity Health’s network of well-qualified and dedicated medical professionals, members can expect the highest quality of care.
Affinity Health recognises that there are complex challenges to the prevention and control of asthma in South Africa.
As such, Affinity Health offers members a range of health care options, including Day-to-Day and Hospital plans, to ensure members with asthma are adequately covered. Affinity Health also provides access to Chronic Medication covered under the Chronic Essential Benefits.
Women are more likely to have asthma than men. 9.8 percent of women have asthma, compared to 6.1 percent of men.
Women are more likely to die from asthma than men.
Among children ages 5 to 17, asthma is one of the top causes of missed school days.
For more visit: www.affinityhealth.co.za