FIRS calls for an end to asthma myths and misconceptions

FIRS calls for an end to asthma myths and misconceptions - article image

On World Asthma Day (5 May), the European Respiratory Society joins the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and other founding members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) in recognising this year’s theme: “Uncovering asthma misconceptions.”

According to the World Health Organisation Asthma Report, more than 339 million people suffer from asthma, which can cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. The WHO estimates that in 2016, 420,000 people died from asthma – 1,150 each day. Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to control the disease to reduce and prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes.

This year’s World Asthma Day theme is “Uncovering asthma misconceptions”. FIRS joins this call to action, to address common widely held myths and misconceptions concerning asthma that prevent people with asthma from enjoying optimal benefit from the major advances in the management of this condition.

Common misconceptions surrounding asthma include:

  1. Asthma is a childhood disease; individuals will grow out of it as they age.
  2. Asthma is infectious.
  3. Asthma sufferers should not exercise.
  4. Asthma is only controllable with high dose steroids.

The truth is:

  1. Asthma can occur at any age (in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly).
  2. Asthma is not infectious. However, viral respiratory infections (such as the common cold and the flu) can cause asthma attacks. In children, asthma is frequently associated with allergy, but asthma which starts in adulthood is less often allergy-related.
  3. When asthma is well-controlled, asthma subjects are able to exercise and even perform in top sports.
  4. Asthma is most often controllable with low-dose inhaled steroids.

FIRS invites everyone to participate in World Asthma Day events on the 5 May, 2021. Further information about GINA and World Asthma Day can be found at:

Airway diseases
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