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3 May 2022
Today is World Asthma Day and we asked Asthma Nurse, Karen Lamb, to share with us a bit about her role and how she works with patients to manage their asthma.
"I very much enjoy my role as an Asthma Nurse, and have been working with people with asthma for the past 10 years," Karen said.
"My role here at Austin health is working in the Asthma and Allergy clinic, providing education and support for people to assist them with management of their asthma and to improve and maintain their quality of life so they can participate in activities they enjoy.
"I provide education around the disease including helping patients understand the triggers that can cause asthma and asthma flare-ups.
"I also provide education around asthma inhaler medication regimes such as checking their inhaler techniques and assessment of adherence, and the use of biological drug treatments for patients with severe asthma," she said.
Karen said asthma can occur at any age and is not limited to children and many people develop asthma later in life.
"Asthma is very common in Australia, in fact 1 in 9 Australians are affected by by the disease," she said.
"However, a goal of good asthma control is that you can do everything you enjoy, even including sports.
"The main concern for people with asthma is sudden and frequent flare-ups and shortness of breath and how this affects their quality of life. For some people it may involve many hospital admissions and an inability to work or attend school."
Karen said most of this can be controlled or reduced with medication and inhaler use and following an asthma action plan.
"Many people are well controlled with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids only but poor or inadequate inhaler technique may mean that the person is not getting their medication as prescribed and this increases the risk of a sudden or frequent flare ups," she said.
"It is very important to take and use inhalers as prescribed even if people feel well.
"When patients have a good understanding of their asthma, what triggers it and are compliant with what treatments they are prescribed, they can have good asthma control and can expect to participate in usual active lifestyles," Karen said.