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Tuesday 21 May 2019

Daughter warns of asthma danger after tragic death of her mother

Raising awareness: Ciara Kelly at the campaign launch. Photo: Keith Arkins
Raising awareness: Ciara Kelly at the campaign launch. Photo: Keith Arkins
Ciara Kelly with her mother Emer
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Ciara Kelly is still grieving the tragic loss of her mother Emer Kelly following an asthma attack last year.

Her mother's sudden death aged 47 has prompted the Dublin woman to raise awareness about the potentially fatal condition.

The 25-year-old was speaking out as new figures released to coincide with the first Asthma Awareness Week reveal a person dies every five days in Ireland from asthma.

Prior to the attack at the family home in Drimnagh, Ms Kelly said her mother had shown no signs of illness.

"She didn't have any chest infection, or cold or anything like that," said Ms Kelly.

On January 3, 2018 she said her mother had made herself a cup of tea and gone upstairs.

About half an hour later, her father ran down the stairs and said: "Ciara, your mam can't breathe."

She ran upstairs to help her. "She was as white as a ghost. The minute I saw her face I could tell this wasn't just a normal asthma attack that she had every couple of months. This was a serious one."

Her mother was brought to St James's Hospital, but her heart had stopped twice and tests showed there was no blood circulation to her brain.

There was nothing more that could be done to save her.

Ms Kelly said her mother never went out the door without her inhaler, and she had been hospitalised previously two or three times because of an asthma attack.

Ms Kelly said she would like to raise awareness about the condition.

People who have the condition should have an asthma action plan, which is a written step-by-step guide to help manage it.

"Know what your triggers are, and know what to do when you do have an asthma attack. Just make sure your friends and family know as well, so they can help you.

"Know where your inhalers are, and take your preventer medication too," Ms Kelly warned.

Ms Kelly features in one of the new videos produced by the Asthma Society, which provide tips about management of the illness.

Chief executive of the Asthma Society Sarah O'Connor said its asthma management survey, which was launched yesterday, highlighted a "huge lack of awareness" of how to control the condition.

She said 470,000 people in Ireland suffer from asthma and 60pc did not have it under control, greatly increasing the risk of suffering a fatal attack.

Ms O'Connor said: "It is truly frightening that asthma deaths are on the rise in Ireland."

Health Minister Simon Harris said: "Asthma management is extremely important."

To support the Asthma Society, text BREATHE to 50300 to donate €4.

Irish Independent

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