Pollution poses asthmatic threat

Last week’s high pollution levels received widespread media coverage because of the health risks posed to many vulnerable people across the UK, including those with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Though pollution levels have since decreased, I wanted to alert those of your readers with asthma made worse by pollution that it can take as long as two weeks for airways to return to normal after being exposed to an asthma trigger.

Therefore they should remain vigilant with their asthma by continuing to take their medicines as prescribed and keeping track of their symptoms. The best way to do this is by using a written asthma action plan - a step by step guide they can fill in with their GP or asthma nurse to help them stay on top of their condition.

Despite the fact that people are four times less likely to need hospital treatment for their asthma when they have a written asthma action plan, only 30% of people with asthma do and this needs to change.

Your readers can download one from www.asthma.org.uk where they can also take the Asthma UK Risk Test to see if they are at increased risk of a potentially fatal asthma attack and find out what they can do to reduce their risk.

Kay Boycott

Chief Executive of Asthma UK, 18 Mansell Street, London