The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is calling on global health care providers to “STOP” for asthma and evaluate symptoms, test response to therapy, observe and assess and finally proceed to adjust treatment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 235 million people suffer from asthma, which can cause wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to control the disease to reduce and prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children. It is not just a public health problem for high- income countries: it occurs in all countries regardless of level of development.

Over 80% of asthma deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Asthma is underdiagnosed and undertreated, creating a substantial burden to individuals and families and possibly restricting individuals’ activities for a lifetime.

Asthma attacks cause adults to miss work and children to miss school. These dangerous and sometimes life-threatening episodes reduce the quality of life for people with asthma.

“The good news is that we can raise awareness about asthma and how it can be controlled. People with asthma can prevent asthma attacks by avoiding asthma triggers like tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution and colds and flu. Asthma episodes can also be prevented by using inhaled corticosteroids and other prescribed daily long-term control medicines correctly,” the organization said.