Asthma sufferers urged to have a plan as good weather brings asthma season

Portlaoise Hospital hosted information day for World Asthma Day

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


asthma allergy inhaler

Lisa Egan candidate ANP Paediatric Respiratory demonstrates key inhaler technique

Staff at Portlaoise hospital have urged asthama sufferers to have a plan to cope with the condition as the good weather arrives bring with it the usual asthma season.

To mark the 20th annual World Asthma Day, the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise hosted a free information day for public and staff to improve asthma awareness and care.

As part of the talk, the Hospital Paediatric team are highlighting that 1 in 5 children in Ireland have asthma and are providing useful tools and techniques to parents for asthma management.

The key points are explained by the acronym ICE and highlight the importance of;

I -  Inhaler technique

C - Compliance and

E-  Exacerbating triggers.

Dr Muhammad Tariq, Consultant Paediatrician with Respiratory and Allergy, opened the event.

“We are delighted to host the information day for patients, public and staff. Asthma is under-diagnosed and under-treated, creating a substantial burden to individuals and families and possibly restricting individuals’ activities for a lifetime. Asthma attacks cause adults to miss work and children to miss school. These dangerous and sometimes life-threatening episodes reduce the quality of life for people with asthma.

"The good news is that we can raise awareness about asthma and how it can be controlled. People with asthma can prevent asthma attacks if they learn how to avoid asthma triggers like tobacco smoke, mould, outdoor air pollution, and colds and flu. Asthma episodes can also be prevented by using inhaled corticosteroids and other prescribed daily long-term control medicines correctly,” he said.

The multidisciplinary paediatric respiratory team from Portlaoise Hospital were on hand to answer asthma related questions, provide support and advise on how asthma can be identified and treated, including identifying triggers, treating the condition effectively with medication and asthma relievers, using a peak-flow test, and putting in place an asthma plan to deal with attacks.

Lisa Egan candidate ANP Paediatric Respiratory also spoke about the importance of having a plan.

“Asthma is one of the most common illnesses of our time, and also one of the most treatable. It is important our patients and their families have an asthma plan and importantly make your own assessment of your own health by identifying triggers and managing your exposure. Many seasonal asthmatics suffer in the summer. The Asthma Society of Ireland has a wealth or resources available online at to help patients review their asthma care and stay in regular contact with your healthcare provider,” she said.

Pictured Dr Muhammad Tariq, Consultant Paediatrician with Respiratory and Allergy interest.

Stephen Patten, Services & Development for Asthma Society of Ireland also attended.

“We are delighted to support Portlaoise Hospital raise awareness for World Asthma Day. There are approximately 5,000 asthma admissions each year in hospitals and more than 20,000 presentations annually to Emergency Departments across Ireland relating to Asthma. We would encourage patients and public diagnosed with Asthma or experiencing signs or symtoms relating to Asthma to contact our Asthma Advice line 1850 44 54 64.”

Michael Knowles, Hospital Manager said it is important for the hospital to engage on the illness.

“We are delighted to host the Asthma Awareness event for the second year running. It is important to engage with our hospital community on this serious health condition.  I would like to thank the Asthma Society of Ireland for supporting this initiative and Dr. Tariq and his team for their work in providing high quality service to patients in treatment and health promotion for the wider community," he said.

Anne- Marie O'Shea, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) presents key information guide on managing Asthma for adults and children

This year’s World Asthma Day theme is “NEVER TOO EARLY, NEVER TOO LATE. It’s always the right time to address airways disease.” The theme provides a call to action for both patients and healthcare providers worldwide to evaluate symptoms regardless of the timepoint in one’s life they may occur and take actions to ensure that the asthma is controlled. 

According to WHO estimates, 235 million people suffer from asthma, which can cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to control asthma to reduce and prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes.

Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma in the world. 7.1% of 18+ and 18.9% of 13 – 15 year olds have asthma, while 38.5% of 13 – 15 year olds reported wheezing. More than 1 person a week dies from asthma, with approximately 29% of asthma patients missing school or work because of their condition.

The Hospital clinical team practice using the BTS, GINA and the NICE (National Institute for health and Care Excellence) guidelines to ensure the most up to date and robust evidence based literature guide the asthma management for patients and their families.

In addition, Peak flow measurements, Spirometry to assess airway reversibility to bronchodilator therapy and the piloting FENO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) as a tool to measure the amount of inflammation in the lungs to help diagnose asthma and assess compliance with asthma treatments are also provided as part of the full suite of services at Portlaoise Hospital.

Further information about GINA and World Asthma Day can be found at GINA’s website: or World Health Organization from respiratory/asthma/en/