Paul Wilson, a long-term marathon runner and asthma sufferer, is urging other people with asthma to support a new campaign aimed at raising awareness for the safe application of asthma medication. According to a recent report, over one million people in the United Kingdom are at risk of fatal side-effects if they continue using their inhaler incorrectly.
Mr. Wilson began planning the campaign after having an epiphany at the age of 44 – at this point, the marathon runner had been hospitalized 48 times as a result of asthma attacks. On 25 separate occasions, Mr. Wilson needed to be resuscitated. “I’ve been rushed to hospital countless times with my asthma, and been put on drips, nebulizers, and even ended up in intensive care,” he admitted. “But I’d never really given too much thought on how to manage my asthma or use my inhaler properly… Looking back, I was just taking a puff and hoping for the best.”
After missing countless annual asthma reviews and vital inhaler checks with his GP, Mr. Wilson found that his asthma symptoms were getting progressively worse. In fact, Paul’s asthma got so bad that he was having weekly attacks: “I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest.”
With his condition getting worse, Mr. Wilson finally consulted his asthma nurse. Going to this consultation may have saved Paul’s life. “They said the way I was using my inhaler meant that only 10 to 20 percent of the medicine was getting into my lungs,” he confessed. “They showed me the correct inhaler technique and gave me a spacer to use, and the difference it has made to my asthma is incredible.”
Breathing too forcefully, not breathing deeply enough, and not properly preparing your inhaler are the most common ways for asthma sufferers to compromise the effect of asthma medication.
“It’s easy for patients to get into bad habits or simply forget the best technique following their appointment, especially if they have a new type of inhaler,” emphasized Dr. Andy Whittamore, a clinical leader at Asthma UK. “But even a small tweak to how someone uses their inhaler can make a huge difference and could prevent them from having a life-threatening asthma attack.”
Following his consultation, Mr. Wilson was stunned at how quickly his condition improved after implementing minor adjustments to his inhaler practices. “I never thought something so simple could completely turn my life around,” he declared. “I even ran the London Marathon for Asthma UK last year.”