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It’s all in the mind

Doctors and parents do not easily admit that the child has asthma,because of the stigma.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas |
May 6, 2009 3:56:25 am

Stigmas associated with the disease are one strong reason responsible for rising number of asthma patient

Doctors and parents do not easily admit that the child has asthma,because of the stigma. In the process,they deny the child a normal,active childhood. Worse,asthma that is not properly controlled in childhood can cause permanent damage to the airways and lead to the more difficult adult asthma,’’ says Dr Sundeep Salvi,director of Chest Research Foundation on the occasion of World Asthma Day on May 5.

Salvi found it ironical that though the best inhaled medicines are easily available in the market at prices that are affordable,most children are still being denied the benefit of this treatment because of ignorance and myths. Says Salvi,“Today,parents go an extra mile to ensure the best school,the best food and the best clothes. But when it comes to asthma medication they would rather settle for tablets and syrups,which are not only less effective but even harmful than inhaled medications. Every inhaled puff has a very tiny dose of the medicine that reaches the lungs directly for maximum benefit,making a huge difference to the child’s life.”

The CRF found that the prevalence of asthma amongst school children in Pune had almost doubled in the last five years. He described the study findings as a wakeup call. “We may not yet have a cure for asthma. But we do have the inhalers to make a normal,active,symptom-free life possible even with asthma. It is up to us to arrest the growth of asthma through education,avoidance of risk factors and proper management,” he said.

Says Dr Barnali Bhattacharya,chairperson of the Respiratory Chapter of Indian Academy of Paediatrics,Pune branch,says asthma is a disease,which is the commonest chronic disorder of childhood.

There is so much of ignorance that it remains under-diagnosed and under-treated. The second concern is that there are so many myths about the therapy,and public awareness is important. We have excellent modalities of treating an asthmatic child. What is available in our country is what is available in the most developed nations. We are fortunate to get the drugs and devices at a much cheaper cost.

It is a most gratifying disease to treat as one can gift back a near normal childhood to an asthmatic child — if we diagnose on time and treat it effectively,she further adds on the occasion World Asthma Day on May 5

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