Health chiefs raise awareness of symptoms of Asthma

On World Asthma Day today, health chiefs in the Black Country and West Birmingham are raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of the illness.

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults.

The main symptoms are a whistling or wheezing sound when breathing, a feeling of breathlessness, a tight chest and coughing. The symptoms can sometimes temporarily get worse and this is commonly known as an asthma attack.

Ahead of World Asthma Day, a special event was held by Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust for parents and carers of children living with asthma. The event – held in a children’s activity centre – provided an opportunity for parents to speak with specialists and learn more about their child’s condition, while their child played nearby. Emma Harriman, paediatric respiratory nurse with Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Our paediatric respiratory team wanted to provide an innovative approach to bringing asthma education and care into the community. Hosting the event at a local soft play centre allowed the children to have fun whilst the parents were able to talk to a variety of professionals as well as meet other families.

"We provided education on a range of issues that would impact children with asthma and their families, including inhaler technique and how to avoid triggers.”

Lauren Caswell, 33, from Sedgley, also attended the event with her four-year-old daughter Everley. She added:

“Everley first started having symptoms when she was around one. She started off with a little bit of breathlessness, tugging at her throat, difficulty breathing and it went on from there. I’m a nurse myself so I knew the symptoms and we ended up with a 999 call and attending A&E.

“Everley’s asthma doesn’t affect us every single day with symptoms, but it’s always in the back of our mind. Her triggers tend to be more weather related so if it’s really cold or really wet and windy, we tend to be more aware and look out for the signs of an episode coming on.

“With breathing, if anyone has got any issues just get medical help straight away, don’t wait. If they’re really struggling to breathe obviously you call 999, or if it’s out of hours and you think it’s not an immediate emergency, call 111. If it’s within hours, you’ve got walk-in centres and GP surgeries, there’s lots of place you can go.”

For more information on asthma, you can visit


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