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Video-making schoolgirls on asthma awareness quest

Pupils at Aberdeenshire school have released a hard-hitting film on the seriousness of asthma.

Asthma kills three people in the UK every day – and now a hard-hitting video has been released by group of school pupils to highlight the seriousness of the condition.

The piece was put together by the teenagers at Ellon Academy in Aberdeenshire.

It’s Not Just Asthma depicts a pupil struggling to get to the school nurse after started to wheeze.

It then shows how the situation could have been different, had her teacher known what to do.

The topic has a personal resonance for pupil Caitlin Jack, whose family story provided the inspiration for the video.

Her uncle, Ian Jack, died from the condition, when he was in his 30s.

“I was really young so I didn’t know him that well,” she said.

“But what I did know was the effect it had on my family. My dad was left without his brother.

“His picture is always there at my grandparents’ house. His death has left a huge hole, so spreading awareness for this project has been a major thing for us.”

The schoolgirls have been working with Aberdeen-based charity, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

“Asthma can be a very serious condition, and we know that around 90 per cent of deaths are preventable,” said its health promotion manager, Dami Jaiyesimi.

“Education is key –  the patient needs to understand their condition and how to manage it.

“And the public needs to be able to spot an asthma attack and know what to do to help them.”

Key to this, she said, is knowing how to use an inhaler.

“One to two puffs, every 30 to 60 seconds, up to ten puffs,” she explained.

“If after ten puffs they’re still not getting any better, or are getting pale, you need to call 999 for an ambulance immediately.”

Figures show asthma affects around 360,000 people in Scotland and, over the past five years, more than 500 people have died from the condition.

“The asthma numbers per head of population in the UK are at least two if not four times higher than they are in continental Europe,” said consultant paediatrician Professor Steve Turner.

“I think parents, children, doctors, carers need to be aware of asthma. And they need to be aware of how it’s treated and how to help people with asthma take the treatment in the hurly burly of life.”

Caitlin says she hopes their project will go some way towards spreading their message.

“It’s not just asthma – you might think it is, but it’s not  – it does take lives.”

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