Asthma facts, figures and advice

FACTS, figures and advice about asthma


5.4 million people in the UK receive treatment for asthma and 1.1 million of those are children.

There were 1,204 deaths from asthma in the UK in 2008.

Three people a day die from asthma.

Around 75 per cent of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable.

61 per cent of people with asthma say that their asthma stops them from getting a good night's sleep.

On average there are two children with asthma in every classroom in the UK.

Every 17 minutes a child is admitted to hospital in the UK because of their asthma.

Children living in damp, mouldy homes are 1.5 to three times more likely to experience coughing and wheezing.

One in 8 children under 15 with asthma symptoms experience attacks so severe they can't speak.

The NHS spends around 1 billion a year treating and caring for people with asthma.

In 2008/09 up to 1.1 million working days were lost due to breathing or lung problems.


If your symptoms are getting worse you may recognise some or all of the following:

needing more and more reliever treatment;

waking at night with coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or a tight chest;

having to take time off work because of your asthma;

feeling that you cannot keep up with your normal level of activity or exercise;

If you experience any of the above you should visit your doctor or nurse to get your asthma back under control. You can also carry an Asthma Attack card from Asthma UK, which tells people what to do in an attack:

Take two puffs of your reliever (blue) inhaler;

Sit up and loosen tight clothing;

If no immediate improvement during an attack, continue to take one puff of reliever inhaler every minute for five minutes or until symptoms improve;

If your symptoms do not improve in five minutes – or if you are in doubt - call 999 or a doctor urgently, especially if:

You are too breathless or exhausted to talk;

Your lips are blue.


The Asthma UK telephone Adviceline service is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

The number to call is 0800 121 62 44.

Asthma UK can also be contacted on the website at