Asthma myths need to be busted

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survey ONE in two parents here feel they need to know more about asthma, found a survey by the Asthma Association.

The survey also revealed that many parents do not know about the available treatment options and still cling to myths regarding asthma.

One is that asthmatic children should avoid physical activity and sport. This is untrue, said Dr Lynette Shek, Paediatric Consultant at the National University Hospital (NUH). "In fact, the current evidence is that exercise should be encouraged … The large Academies in America and Europe recommend exercise to be prescribed, like medicine, for people with asthma," she said.

The survey also showed that a third of parents do not use preventive medication. Of those who do use it, more than two-thirds do so only after asthma symptoms surface. Most respondents cited fear of side effects as the reason.

With proper education, said Dr Shek, parents would realise that asthma medication if taken correctly can, in fact, give patients a relatively normal life. "The goal is to have no asthma attacks, and minimal use of relievers."

The Asthma Association is producing a brochure for parents, which will be available free at all hospitals and polyclinics from next month.

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