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Childhood Asthma: Are we doing enough?

The Armed Forces Medical College Pune,celebrated World Asthma Day on May 5.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE |
May 6, 2009 3:55:46 am

The Armed Forces Medical College Pune,celebrated World Asthma Day on May 5 . The theme for this year’s celebration is You can cure your Asthma. Childhood asthma is the commonest chronic illness in children causing a major concern worldwide and represents a huge burden on families and society. Diagnosed early and with proper management it can be cured. However awareness among parents is poor and misconceptions about the ailment are plenty. The findings of a Knowledge Attitude Practice study on asthma,conducted in AFMC under aegis of Indian council of Medical Research,were an eye opener. Although 83 per cent parents were aware that their child suffered from asthma,only 11 per cent knew the implications. Around 40 per cent parents felt it was contagious,37 per cent thought it to be running in families,51 per cent of parents related it to exercise and sports,and one third were not aware of the causal factors.

Inhaled medication forms the cornerstone of Asthma therapy with the advantage of minimum toxicity of drugs. The goal of therapy is to rear the child with no restriction of activity or outdoor games,any school absenteeism and normal growth and development. An analysis of the beliefs regarding treatment,in the AFMC study showed that a majority (48 per cent) believed it to be only palliative,22 per cent of the parents thought of a permanent cure and only nine per cent believed in remission of the disease with age. Home Peak Flow Meter monitoring is a very objective method of assessing asthma control,but only one-third parents were aware of it.

To increase the awareness of asthma amongst the community,the Department of Pediatrics,AFMC organised a patient awareness programme on May 2. Col Madhuri Kanitkar,head of the department of Paediatrics at AFMC said that there was a need to screen the disease among the children of families having asthma.

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