Number of asthma-sufferers on the rise in Czech Republic

Statistics suggest that the number of asthma-sufferers among children in the Czech Republic has doubled over the past ten years. Every seventh Czech child currently suffers from breathing problems related to asthma and specialists say the number will most likely keep growing in the coming years.

At present, some 30 to 40 percent of Czech children suffer from some sort of allergy, mostly to pollen and dust mites, one of the major risks for developing asthma. While in the early 1990s the prevalence of asthma in children was estimated at two to three percent, at the moment it is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent. Petr Pohunek, a paediatrician specializing in allergies and respiratory problems, points out that the growing number of asthmatic children is a global trend:

“We know that asthma in children and general asthma prevalence is rising worldwide. It’s mainly attributed to the factors of civilization, such as increased use of antibiotics and the changing allergen burden in the household, as well as in the outer environment. We know that the asthma prevalence is generally higher in the more civilised countries than in the less developed countries. So the changing lifestyle across the world is one of the major contributing factors.”

Specialists warn that the number of children suffering from asthma will keep growing in the coming years. So what can be done to prevent the rise? Petr Pohunek says doctors still don’t have a clear answer, despite a number of studies related to this issue. Still, there are ways of reducing the risk:

Doctors say it is also vital to raise public awareness of the problem. The Czech Initiative for Asthma has already launched several programmes to inform the public about the risks of developing asthma and allergies and what treatment is now available.