Health: Asthma patients suffer needlessly

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The Independent Online
Thousands of asthma sufferers are condemning themselves to a life of misery by failing to treat their condition properly, it was claimed yesterday.

As the number of people with asthma soars, The Which? Guide to Managing Asthma said many of the debilitating symptoms could be kept under control by using the most conventional treatments and self-help strategies, and that even deaths can be prevented by taking control of the condition.

The book, written by Mark Greener, an asthma sufferer himself, examines how balancing self-help and correctly used medication can help people with asthma reclaim their quality of life - and, in some cases, even save it. Studies suggest that eight out of ten asthma deaths may be preventable. Mr Greener said asthma sufferers could reduce the risk of an attack by reducing the level of dust mites, a trigger factor, by washing bed linen at least once a week at above 60C, and pillows and blankets monthly, and placing soft toys in the freezer for six hours a week to kill the mites.

People who are allergic to pollen should keep windows closed on hot sunny days, especially in the morning and late afternoon, and, to avoid pollution, asthma suffers should not jog in polluted areas or exercise with the window open in the city.