Breath of fresh air for asthmatics

To recognise World Asthma Day today, a breakthrough smartphone app has been launched by a peak body to will help users breathe easier.

While originally designed with young sufferers in mind, Asthma Australia says the Kiss my Asthma app can be used by people of all ages to manage their symptoms, track their moods and receive reminders about taking medication.

Developed by researchers at the University of Sydney, the app has a “goal-setting function that incorporates gamification to make (it) more attractive and enhance the user’s experience and motivation”, the organisation said.

Asthma affects one in nine Australians and kills around 400 people a year. It’s estimated up to 90 per cent of people may be using their inhaler incorrectly.

An Asthma Australia spokeswoman told YourLifeChoices that following the toll on the community from last year’s unexpectedly harsh influenza virus, the organisation was stepping up its efforts to educate people of all ages about the dangers of letting their condition go untreated.

It is also strongly recommending that asthmatics consider having a flu vaccination now, before the worst of the cold weather sets in.

“During last year’s flu season, many of the people who lost their battle to survive were believed to be asthma sufferers who had not been taking their medication adequately,” she said. “We know that respiratory viruses, including the flu, are one of the most common asthma triggers and can cause asthma flare-ups that require time off work, emergency treatment or hospitalisation.

“GPs and other health practitioners can refer patients to our 1800 ASTHMA Helpline for support with their asthma management.”

The Kiss myAsthma app is available on the App Store and GooglePlay now. Its features include:

  • access to an asthma action plan
  • the ability to track asthma symptoms, severity and attacks, making it easy to inform your doctor or specialist accurately about your asthma
  • mood tracker
  • setting goals and receiving support from one of the app’s assistants
  • reminders to take asthma preventer medications
  • asthma first aid instructions and emergency contacts
  • extensive information about asthma, asthma medications and devices, and managing anxiety.

There is another, more general app available also. Known as the Asthma App, it contains a wealth of information about the condition, how you can receive support, different types of medication and delivery devices.

Asthma Australia has produced a checklist for people with asthma to reduce their risk this winter:

  • visit your doctor for an asthma review
  • take the asthma control test
  • take preventer medication every day when well
  • check your device technique
  • get a written asthma action plan
  • consider an annual flu vaccination.

Does your asthma worsen during cold weather? Would you be interested in relying on a smartphone app to help manage asthma symptoms? Are you sure you know how to use your inhaler properly?

Anyone with concerns or questions about asthma can call the 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462) and get advice from an asthma educator.

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Related articles:
Are you using your inhaler correctly?
Asthma life-balance check
Thunderstorm asthma event

Written by Olga Galacho

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