SOMEONE has an asthma attack every three seconds, a new study shows.
This is three times the estimate of how often the potentially fatal condition strikes, according to Asthma UK.
A survey carried out by the charity found 10,000 sufferers are affected on average twice a year. With 5.4million treated for the condition, that equates to 10.8million attacks a year or the equivalent of one every three seconds.
Asthma can kill, with around three people dying every day in Britain. Previous studies suggested an attack took place once every ten seconds.
The condition affects the airways, narrowing them and making it harder to breathe. Triggers can include cold air, coughs and colds, and grass pollen.
Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK, said it is ‘a terrifying experience than can cause distress and in some cases prove fatal’.
He added: ‘Asthma attacks do not come out of the blue and if people recognise the tell-tale signs that an attack is about to strike, they can get the help that could save their life.’
The charity said people should contact their GP if they needed to use a reliever inhaler (usually blue) three or more times a week, or wake up at night because of their asthma.
Patients should also seek help if symptoms, such as wheezing or a cough, got worse or interfered with their everyday activities.
Those with a preventer inhaler (usually brown) should take it daily to help build up protection against attacks.
Kelly May, 31, a hairdresser from London, said: ‘Having an asthma attack can feel like being a fish out of water and it’s terrifying. No matter what I do, I can’t catch my breath.’ She added ‘the slightest cold can land me in hospital’.
NHS data shows 77,000 sufferers were admitted to hospital last year.