THE efforts of a young woman from Ludlow to raise awareness of asthma has been given new impetus from a report that shows the seriousness of the illness.

Fern Bowkett, who lives in Ludlow and comes from Tenbury, suffers from brittle asthma.

It is a particularly serious form of the disease and has resulted in Fern, who works in Hereford, having to be airlifted home from holiday.

She first became aware of the illness whilst visiting family in the United States some years ago.

The brittle asthma means that she has to go into hospital every two weeks for injections that help to keep her alive.

One of her concerns is that too many people do not realise how serious asthma is and regard it as a relatively minor condition.

But her concerns have been confirmed by a report that shows that 1,400 people a year in this country died of asthma in the most recent year under review and that deaths from the condition are on the increase.

The reasons for this are not clear but it is believed that it can be linked to pollution and dirty air.

Ms Bowkett says that he first serious attack came after she was watching a major fire.

She has also complained about people smoking in the vicinity of hospitals.

Nearly five million people in England and Wales suffer from asthma but deaths from the condition are up a third on a year ago. Deaths in the last year under review were eight per cent higher than the previous year.

For many people it can be well managed by the use of inhalers and basic medication but for others it is much more serious.

Another factor according to be experts is that some people do not use their medication properly.

Brittle asthma is a rare form of severe asthma. The term “brittle” means difficult to control. Brittle asthma is also called unstable or unpredictable asthma because it can suddenly develop into a life-threatening attack.

When this happens, immediate action has to be taken or death can come quickly.

But the report on the condition shows that the only people at risk are not just those that have a diagnosis of the most serious forms of the illness.

People who are thought to have less serious forms of the illness can become seriously ill very quickly.

An attack can come on with little or no notice and one of the factors can be stress that is made worse by fear.