No fewer than seven million Nigerians are living with asthma, a chronic disease, which affects the airways, the Medical Science, Liaison, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Dr Omolabake Okunubi, has said. This, she said, is because the severity of asthma is under-estimated in the country.

Mrs Okunubi spoke at the World Asthma Day (WAD) in Lagos organised by GSK and Eias Nelson Oyedokun Foundation (ENOF) with the theme: You can control your asthma.

Asthma, she said, is a killer disease, which affects no fewer than 300 million people across the world. The good news, Mrs Okunubi said, is that people can control their asthma, adding: “There is a class of medication known as controller drugs for asthma. These are taken on a daily basis to put the symptoms under control.” Besides, with correct treatment, support and advice, asthmatics can lead full and active lives.

Asthma, she said, does not have to limit people’s life because it can be controlled. She said people can stop asthma attacks by taking their preventer treatment regularly. They should know the things, which trigger their asthma and avoid them where possible, she added. Okunubi said: “Using a peak flow metre and a diary will help them to know how well their asthma is controlled. This will ensure there is advance warning of worsening asthma symptoms.”

In the event of asthma attacks, she said, the asthmatics should take one or two puffs of their reliever inhaler (usually blue), sit up and take slow steady breaths. “If the asthmatics do not start to feel better, they should take two puffs of their reliever inhaler. This should be one puff at a time. They can take up to 10 puffs. If they do not feel better after taking the inhaler, the asthmatic can visit a hospital,” she said.

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