Dawn Fraser in new asthma awareness campaign

Dawn Fraser in asthma campaign

Aussie sports legend Dawn Fraser is lending a hand to a new health campaign focused on empowering people with asthma to take greater control of their condition.

The launch of the initiative, called Asthma Know Your Options, has been triggered by research that confirms how poorly asthma is currently being managed in Australia. Asthma Australia and National Asthma Council Australia have partnered with GSK on the campaign.

They cite a 2012 study that shows one in four people with the condition who use their preventative medication infrequently or never have uncontrolled asthma. A further 20% have uncontrolled symptoms despite regularly using their medication.

Asthma Know Your Options is aimed at empowering patients to be more involved in their asthma management by discussing their lifestyle and symptoms honestly with their GP to work out what management option suits them best.

The campaign also aims to encourage Australians with asthma who use puffers, to use them correctly in the way their GP, nurse or pharmacist has advised. Doctors and patients should work together to decide on the most appropriate treatment to suit the patient’s lifestyle.

The new campaign encourages patients to become more active in how their asthma is managed and to discuss with their doctor what may or may not suit them, based on their personal circumstances.

The creative concept uses the idea of things done in half measure (for example, men only half shaving their beard, running with only one shoe on) to make the point that if you are being half hearted (regularly forgetting to take your medicine or  not using your inhaler correctly) with your asthma management then the medications will not be working properly.

Australian sports legend Dawn Fraser has lent her support to the campaign, having battled asthma since a young age.

“Successful management of my asthma has come from careful attention to the symptoms and diligent use of my medications,” says Fraser.

“With this campaign we are encouraging people with asthma to commit to a regular review with their GP and be forthcoming about what may or may not work for you as far as management options goes because that is a key step to staying on top of the disease.”

Respiratory expert Associate Professor Greg King of the Woolcock Institute and Royal North Shore Hospital, says the call to action is about encouraging patient empowerment.

“This campaign to increase awareness of both patients and healthcare professionals to the fact that asthma is still not optimally controlled in many, many patients is really important,” says A/Prof King.

“This is because with good assessment and a well thought out treatment plan that suits the individual, the vast majority of patients can expect to be free of asthma symptoms and its complications arising from sub-optimal management.

“There are 2.3 million Australians living with asthma, half of whom have uncontrolled asthma. They put up with wheezing, coughing, breathlessness and regular flare-ups despite the availability of a range of effective treatment options.

“We want to better match asthma action plans to the individual patient, which will improve their asthma control. Asthma can be a serious condition and I urge those affected to get more involved in better controlling their condition,” he says.

People with asthma can support the campaign on social media by using #AsthmaKnowYourOptions or visit www.AsthmaKnowYourOptions.com.au  to complete an asthma quiz which they can take to their doctor.

The launch is supported by advertisements which will run across free to air TV, radio, online and in magazines.

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