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Asthma

copingFrom the patient’s point of view, coping with asthma has often begun in early life. In childhood, patients often have a multi-organ disease with skin (atopic dermatitis), nose and eyes (allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis), and airway (asthma) involvement. This can be difficult to cope with and if not well managed can lead to school absenteeism. School action plans can help the child remain in school and maximise their learning potential. Children and adolescents often have to deal with food and airborne allergens avoidance, treatments at school with action plans alternating with periods of school absenteeism.

In most adults with mild to moderate asthma, the disease can be well controlled with safe and effective medication.
For patients with severe form of the disease, coping can be harder due to the limitation in daily life because of breathlessness and other symptoms, and side effects of the systemic corticosteroids which are sometimes needed to achieve symptoms control. Novel treatments are urgently needed for these patients.

From the physician’s point of view (general practitioner, allergist, pulmonologist or paediatrician) dealing with asthma will involve continuously educating the patients about the daily management of their disease: identifying and avoiding trigger factors, adapting treatments with written personalised action plans and evaluating regularly respiratory function.

From the researcher’s point of view, dealing with asthma includes exploring pathways leading to disease prevention in at-risk families (none of which have proved their efficacy to date) and investigating the pathophysiology of the disease to identify potential targets for future treatments.

For the society, dealing with asthma is team work between large networks comprising patients, physicians and researchers to with the aim to develop treatments and strategies to cure and prevent asthma.