World Asthma Day Recognized Today At City Hall

May 5, 2015

“We should all be concerned about the high prevalence of asthma in Bermuda and do everything possible to properly care for sufferers and to minimize their numbers,” Minister of Health, Seniors & Environment Jeanne Atherden said today [May 5] on World Asthma Day .

Minister Atherden said, “Thank you for joining me here today to mark World Asthma Day. I would like to commend Bermuda’s representative organization Open Airways who has sponsored and coordinated this event locally.”

“In Bermuda over 9,000 people: 1 in 5 children and approximately 1 in 10 adults suffer from this disabling, distressing and sometimes life threatening condition. This is too many! We should all be concerned about the high prevalence of asthma in Bermuda and do everything possible to properly care for sufferers and to minimize their numbers.”

“Asthma must be well treated, so that persistent inflammation of airways does not lead to a chronic shortness of breath. On this World Asthma Day 2015 Open Airways’ theme is: ‘A preventer a day keeps the asthma away!’

“If you suffer from asthma see your doctor, make an appointment with an asthma nurse and get a personal Asthma Action Plan. Children who suffer from severe, persistent asthma are 30 times more likely to develop chronic respiratory disease in adulthood so it is vital to adequately manage childhood asthma.”

Minister Jeanne Atherden At World Asthma Day 2015 (1)

“Asthma is exacerbated by various triggers including animal hair, dust, mold, chemicals, cigarette smoke and vehicle emissions. I am calling on all residents to do their part to work with Open Airways, the Bermuda Hospitals Board and Departments within the Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment to do more to reduce asthma in our community.”

“The Department of Health’s School Asthma Nurse provides an asthma education program for school staff, students and parents. Children in turn educate their parents on asthma triggers and how to recognize symptoms of an asthma attack and what to do if one occurs.”

“The importance of the indoor environment in the prevention of asthma is key – at home, work, and school. Avoid inhaling fumes from cleaning products. Use allergy-proof covers on pillows and mattresses. Wash bedding weekly in hot water [above 130 degrees Fahrenheit] to get rid of dust mites and keep your house well ventilated to help prevent mold in your home. The Environmental Health Section provides training in mold abatement and can be contacted for further advice.”

Minister Jeanne Atherden At World Asthma Day 2015 (2)

“Smoke, including secondhand smoke and smoke on clothing, can trigger an asthma attack. 14% of residents smoke and a quarter of residents are exposed to second-hand smoke once a week or more. Revised tobacco control legislation is pending and is intended to further protect children from smoking,” the Minister added.

“The Department of Environmental Protection monitors air pollution at a number of sites over Bermuda including BELCO, the Incinerator and traffic emissionsat East Broadway. Because East Broadway has almost twice the airborne particulate matter of any other site in Bermuda it is evident that policies to remove poorly-tuned and polluting vehicles from the road could reduce these levels.”

“Asthma is a huge burden on health care costs. There were over 2,000 visits to the Emergency Room for asthma last year – each of these visits could have been prevented…and each tells us we still have a lot of work to do.”

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