Canadian Lung Association

Canadian Lung Association
World Asthma Day

World Asthma Day

May 05, 2008 14:03 ET

The Lung Association Urges People with Asthma to get Serious About It

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 5, 2008) - Asthma continues to be a leading health concern in Ontario. The Lung Association is urging the nearly one million Ontarians with the disease to get serious about it and take control. Research suggests that nearly 60 per cent of people with asthma do not have it under control, placing them at great risk with this potentially life-threatening disease. World Asthma Day, May 6, is recognized globally as a platform for greater awareness about the disease, one that affects nearly 20 per cent of Ontario's children.

The onset of warmer weather presents additional challenges for people with asthma as smog can lead to symptoms, flare ups and hospitalizations. Air pollution is everywhere, indoors and out, often with higher levels in the summer. In Ontario, pollution levels tend to be highest in southern Ontario, partly due to the trans-boundary pollution coming from industrialized areas south of the border. And, since pollution can travel hundreds of kilometers in the wind, even cottage country is affected.

"Asthma is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease," says Carole Madeley, director, Respiratory Health Programs, The Lung Association. "Our message to people with asthma is clear: get serious about it and get it under control. With proper management, asthma can be controlled so that children and adults can enjoy the outdoors without placing themselves at risk."

To reinforce the need for greater control, The Lung Association is releasing a new television spot that will launch in Ontario in conjunction with World Asthma Day, Tuesday, May 6, 2008. The spot features a young girl experiencing an asthma episode in the middle of the night. The viewer is then drawn in to experience the panic and fear associated with the inability to breathe by presenting a dramatic underwater sequence. The spot, narrated by notable Canadian actor Colm Feore, ends with the young girl's mom properly administering her rescue inhaler, restoring the youngster's ability to breathe with ease.

The Lung Association encourages those who may have asthma, or those who may
want to know how well their asthma is managed, to answer these six

Do you (or your child) ever wake up at night coughing,
 wheezing or short of breath?                                   Y ___  N ___

When you get up in the morning do you cough, wheeze or
 find yourself short of breath?                                 Y ___  N ___

Do you need to take your reliever medicine (Ventolin,
 Bricanyl, Oxeze) more than 3-4 times weekly
 (except when taken before exercise)?                           Y ___  N ___

Are you missing school or work because of your asthma?          Y ___  N ___

Do you avoid exercising because your asthma symptoms
 worsen with exercise?                                          Y ___  N ___

The Lung Association educates people that if their asthma is well controlled, exercise and activity levels shouldn't need to be curtailed unless smog levels are exceptionally high.

Toronto Maple Leaf defenceman Anton Stralman puts some muscle behind this message in a new video interview available at The Lung Association's teen site, Diagnosed at age eight, Stralman has learned to control his asthma through a regular routine: he takes his control inhaler just before he brushes his teeth twice daily. As an elite athlete who has taken control of his asthma, Stralman is the perfect role model for youth who may avoid exercise because of the disease.

"I do a pretty good warm up so that it gets my lungs working slowly," says Stralman who will play for Team Sweden during the 2008 IIHF World Championships. "Anything is possible. And know you can control your asthma. There is very good science and medicine out there now to help you."

The Lung Association's Asthma Action program offers guidance and support for people with asthma and those caring for others with the disease. The toll-free Asthma Action Helpline is available to residents of Ontario Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Certified asthma educators can help people with asthma better understand and take control of their asthma. As well, there is a wide assortment of age-appropriate asthma educational materials available free of charge through the Helpline or by visiting

About The Lung Association:

The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest voluntary, not-for-profit health-promotion organizations. The Lung Association is concerned with the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease caused by smoking and with air quality and its effect on lung health. The Ontario Lung Association was incorporated in 1945, and has community offices across the province. Visit the Ontario Lung Association online at, or call 1-800-972-2636 for more information.

Contact Information

  • The Lung Association
    Karen Petcoff
    Office: (416) 864-9911 ext 283
    Cellular: (416) 275-6844