The Queen Elizabeth Hospital remains concerned about the number of people visiting the Accident & Emergency Department with asthma-related illnesses.
A&E head Dr Chaynie Williams said about one in every five patients who showed up in that department needed treatment for asthma – the equivalent of 8,000 visits per year.
And although there were only two recorded cases of deaths directly related to asthma in Barbados last year, she said it was “a concern to us”.
“The patterns have changed over time. We tend to see most of our asthma visits in the wet season which is like hurricane season and it is related to the frequent viral illnesses, the Sahara dust coming across the Atlantic and so on,” Williams said today.
“When we were looking at the stats so far for this year, we [had] 100 more visits in March than in 2013, and we think it is because it was so dry and so many fires, because most of them were presented with environmental triggers.”
Williams said it was difficult to say how many people suffered from the illness in Barbados since the data was not readily available.
However, she said, research associated with the University of the West Indies showed that about 20 per cent of children in Barbados were asthmatic or had at least one asthmatic attack. About ten per cent of adults have had episodes of wheezing associated with asthma-like symptoms, she added.
Williams was speaking to the media after collecting a donation of $6,000 from the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) – part of the proceeds from the company’s Fun Walk last month. She said the funds would go towards providing education for managing and preventing asthma as well as purchasing needed equipment.
Marketing and communications assistant at ICBL, Kleone Charles, pledged the company’s continued support. This is the fourth year that ICBL has provided funding for the Asthma Bay.