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Heightened awareness crucial for Improving paediatric respiratory care in India: expert

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Kolkata: Insufficient awareness about asthma, a respiratory disease affecting nearly 7.9pc of Indian children, and misconceptions and perceived myths associated with its cornerstone treatment inhalation therapy, have resulted in many cases going undiagnosed and even untreated, according to an expert.

All this ultimately results in poor control of asthma, a widespread non-communicable disease and the most common chronic condition among children with 80pc of asthmatics experiencing symptoms during the first six years of their life.

“Paediatric asthma can be a distressing condition for both the child and its family. It is a chronic condition that requires ongoing and often intensive management to keep symptoms under control. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help reduce the frequency as well as severity of the condition,” said child specialist Subhasis Roy.

“However, misunderstandings about the disease as well as its most widely used and recommended treatment i.e., inhalation therapy have led to parents often concealing the condition including for societal reasons, putting off treatment until symptoms worsening. This ultimately results in the insufficient management of the condition as well as a reduced quality of life, that includes frequent hospitalisations and missed school days,” said Roy.

In such a scenario, it is important for parents and caregivers to work closely with their child’s healthcare provider to ensure they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to adhere to the best-suited asthma management strategies.

“It is crucial to raise awareness about the true impact of asthma on children’s lives and to dispel any myths or misconceptions about the disease as well as its recommended method of treatment. By doing so, we can empower families to seek the necessary care and support for their children to reach their full potential,” said Roy.

May is being observed as World Asthma Awareness month.

Pharmaceutical major Cipla has launched a general patient and public awareness initiative – ‘Tuffies’ – directing more targeted awareness on improving respiratory care among children, especially those living with asthma.

In a bid to overcome myths and stigma associated with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and its treatment, the campaign is targeted at engaging children between the ages 5 through 10 years of age and their caregivers. While the campaign has been launchesld with the comic book, an animated video series is to follow, the company said in a media release.

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