World Asthma Day 2013

Dihec Mihec teaches children about proper breathing

7. 5. 2013

To mark the World Asthma Day, the pharmaceutical company Lek, a Sandoz company, and the Spolint Institute taught the children, as a part of the Asthma and Sport programme, by means of a breathing workshop and an educational story about Dihec Mihec and Tačko Dlačko, about the importance of proper breathing for a healthy life style. An active approach to life with asthma from childhood onwards, besides receiving appropriate treatment, is namely the key to the quality life with asthma, one of the most common chronic diseases from which, according to estimates1, as many as 300 million of the world’s population suffers.

According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 2 million people visit emergency departments each year because of asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children globally and is a serious public health problem.

»We estimate that in Slovenia about 14% of school children suffer from asthma. Asthma is the chronic inflammation of airways causing increased airway responsiveness during respiratory infections, hyper-responsiveness to various allergens, irritant gasses and physical effort, causing symptoms such as heavy breathing, tight chest, wheezing and cough. Asthma can develop at any time in life; however, it is the most common in childhood. Research shows that a high proportion of children do not outgrow asthma, but in half of the children the disease improves, »seemingly disappears« and may reappear later in life. Children with asthma must avoid contact with asthma triggers (allergens to which they are allergic, irritants) and follow the doctor’s instructions on regular use of preventive medication and early recognition of potential worsening. Besides regular pharmacological treatment it is very important for an asthmatic child to lead a healthy life: children should not be exposed to cigarette smoke. We strongly recommend also regular engagement in their favourite sports activities, proper breathing, healthy eating and outdoor activities,« says Dr Uroš Krivec, Head of the Unit for pulmonary diseases at the Paediatric Clinic, University Medical Centre of Ljubljana.

Can you breathe properly? Dihec Mihec can help you.

The research, performed on asthmatic patients in Slovenia by the Clinical department for pulmonary diseases and allergy at Golnik hospital, showed that patients have poor knowledge about asthma; therefore the results of treatment are also poorer. It is important that the asthmatic patient is well informed about his/her disease as this enables him/her to significantly improve the quality of his/her life and consequently reduces absences from work or school due to the worsening of asthma or required hospitalisation.

»It is therefore important that children, including those who do not suffer from asthma or allergies, are taught about the importance of proper breathing and healthy living as early as possible. The first rule is to breathe through the nose and in such a way that the diaphragm sinks down when inhaling, letting the air fill out the lower part of the lungs. The children are taught about this by Dihec Mihec in the educational story which we prepared as a part of the Asthma and Sport programme,« explained Dr Milan Hosta, director of the Spolint Institute and the president of the Asthma and Sport programme.

The 6th Lek cycling marathon »For better breathing« raises awareness about life with asthma

This year, as a part of the Asthma and Sport programme, the 6th Lek cycling marathon »For better breathing« will be held in which the members of the Lek team of cyclists join the ultramarathon cyclist Marko Baloh on the route around Slovenia.

»As a part of the Asthma and Sport programme which Lek, a Sandoz company, has been co-creating for the seventh year in a row, we successfully raise awareness throughout Slovenia about the importance of treatment and healthy living through asthma programs and are recognizable as an example of good practice. This year, our cyclists will for the sixth time in a row set out on the route around Slovenia with the aim of drawing attention to the prevalence of asthma and allergies and of the importance of asthma prevention as well as regular exercise. During these years of collaboration we also enabled around 150 asthmatic children free swimming lessons and holidays at the seaside where they are taught how to control their asthma in order to achieve a better quality of life,« said Mojca Pavlin from Lek, a Sandoz company.

Sandoz is among the leading pharmaceutical companies which provide high-quality generic products for the treatment of asthma. Says Mojca Pavlin: »Based on long-term experience we offer patients significant improvement in the quality of life through technologically demanding products, such as inhalers. In recent years we have been intensively expanding the product pipeline in this field and at the same time also our knowledge-base for the development of new products. In this way we extend the access to high-quality and affordable medicines for treatment of this increasingly common disease.«

According to Marko Baloh, Lek cycling marathon »For better breathing« will this year be held from 2 – 5 July. The cyclists will cover around 400 kilometres in four days, the route takes them from Lendava, through Rogaška Slatina, Metlika and Kočevje to Ljubljana. The cyclists will be accompanied by the Asthma and sports mobile group, which will, in towns across Slovenia, perform free pulmonary function tests with spirometers – last year, more than a hundred people following the marathon underwent these tests.

1 Pocket guide for asthma management and prevention. Global Initiative for Asthma.