A selection of websites on asthma

Dr Keith Barnard recommends various websites relating to asthma.

Website of the week
It would be hard to beat this package of guidelines from the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network and the British Thoracic Society.

It starts with diagnosis and treatment in children and adults, and follows with a table that lists alternative diagnoses to wheezing in children.

Flow charts illustrate the stepwise management in adults, children aged five to 12 and children under five.

It contains information on non-pharmacological treatment, dealing with acute asthma, asthma in pregnancy and charts of normal peak flow ranges.

It is clearly presented. Save a copy of this PDF to your computer, and use it for reference or teaching.

Why go there: the best site.
Downside: none.
Information from: SIGN and BTS.
Address: www.sign.ac.uk/pdf/qrg63.pdf.

GP Special interest
If you have a passion for asthma and other respiratory disease you should join this organisation.

It will enhance your knowledge, contacts and also improve your clinical skills.

The updated website, with its drop-down menus, will take you to wherever you wish to go on this website.

Why go there: essential for the enthusiast.
Downside: none.
Information from: General Practice Airways Group.
Address: www.gpiag.org/index.php

Inhaler choice
Choice of inhaler for under-fives can be a difficult issue because not all children are cooperative and not all parents understand the need for effective delivery of treatment. NICE had some guidance on this that GPs will find useful.

Don't be daunted by the 14 pages - you can skip the guff and really only need to look at or print pages five to eight. But I think it's time NICE revisited this topic - this document goes back to August 2000.

Why go there: some helpful hints.
Downside: needs updating.
Information from: NICE.
Address: Click here

Alternative remedies
Alternative treatments abound on the internet. Some make you despair and some amuse. Taking an enema before your treatment was one suggestion that I can't imagine being too popular.

This site is one of many that claim amazing results in asthma. Drug treatment is blamed for many failures because, it is claimed, that they cause systemic candida.

The stuff advertised here, which contains liquorice root, slippery elm bark and lobelia powder, is so good that the wheelchair-bound inventor's life-threatening asthma that had destroyed 70 per cent of his lung function improved within four days, and within a year his condition was 'completely relieved'.

Why go there: search me.
Downside: there is no warning about the dangers of stopping conventional treatment.
Information from: Regenerative Nutrition.
Address: Click here

Which inhaler?
This research helps inform us whether the drug delivery devices that manufacturers produce are sales gimmicks or promote compliance.

Reading this abstract tells us that although there is little difference in efficacy, the breath-activated device was preferred by children age six to 16 rather than pressurised inhalers.

Breath actuated devices are over-priced and this discourages their use, but if compliance is better, then children are going to suffer fewer episodes that require time-consuming primary or expensive secondary care intervention.

Why go there: convincing evidence.
Downside: none.
Information from: Clinical Drug Investigation.
Address: Click here

Dr Barnard is a former GP in Fareham, Hampshire

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