DISTRICT'S ALARMING ASTHMA RATE
BRIDGE Integrated Primary School played a starring role in one of the UK's most popular breakfast shows recently to highlight the alarmingly high rate of asthma in the Banbridge area.
One in every eight children at the school suffers from the chronic airway condition - a startling statsitic when compared to the one in 11 figure throughout the UK.
Northern Ireland has more childhood asthma sufferers than England, Scotland or Wales and 36,000 of them are children..
In an attempt to educate people about the condition, GMTV's Doctor Hilary Jones visited Bridge Primary School last week for a live broadcast on the popular early morning television show.
The programme's resident doctor, known as Dr Hilary, visited the school on Monday and Tuesday last week, teaching a session on how asthma affects children.
Leader health expert Majella Farrell explained how the disease is normally treated.
"Asthma is a fairly common respiratory condition in which airways constrict, making it difficult to breathe," she told the Leader.
"Typical medical treatments for asthma include inhalers and nebulizers. However, there are also natural remedies you can use to treat and prevent asthma attacks."
Bridge Principal Teresa Devlin said the school was delighted to take part in the UK-wide health check. "We were recommended to take part in the show by the parent of a past pupil and we were only too glad to participate."
It was an early morning start for all involved last Tuesday as pupils, parents and staff had to be at at school by 6am ready for the live broadcast.
Mrs Devlin said, "We were all happy to be part of something being broadcast across the UK and even moreso because it is raising awareness of a very common disease here.
"The group, which included five P5 asthma sufferers, took part in the afternoon class on the Monday when they did some exercises and then had their breathing tested using the puffer test.
"This video was then shown on the Tuesday morning segment of the show."
Leader health expert Majella Farrell said one positive can be taken from the shocking figures.
"Could these alarming statistics also point to the quick and accurate diagnosis of this condition therefore highlighting good health care practice?" she said.
"This would in turn lead to better local awareness and hopefully better preventative medical practice."