Share a #Scarfie in support of Asthma UK campaign to stop asthma attacks

Celebrities and their scarves are supporting Asthma UK’s latest campaign to reduce the risk of asthma attacks in the coldest months of the year.

Press release
Monday 9 January 2017

This January the charity is encouraging social media users to wrap, snap and share a seasonal selfie with a twist to help put an end to asthma attacks brought on by cold winter air.

Anton du Beke shares his #Scarfie for Asthma UK

Nadiya Hussain, Anton du Beke (pictured), Andrew Castle and Karen Pickering are amongst a number of celebrities who will be tweeting their #Scarfie – a selfie with a scarf covering their nose and mouth – to encourage others to snap and share with their friends and families.

Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s Clinical Lead and in-house GP, said: “During the winter people are at greater risk of having a life-threatening asthma attack due to seasonal triggers such as cold air and cold and flu viruses.

“In fact, as many as three quarters of people with asthma tell us that cold air can trigger an asthma attack. Wrapping a scarf loosely around your mouth and nose warms up the air before you breathe it in, which can reduce your risk of an asthma attack.”

Every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK. Three people die from an asthma attack every day – and, tragically, two thirds of these deaths are preventable.

Chilly January is the deadliest month of the year, with an average of 154 asthma-related deaths* (compared to an average of 73 in August).

Dr John Dickinson from the University of Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Science and a world renowned expert on asthma in sport is also supporting the #Scarfie campaign.

Dr Dickinson is currently working on a study funded by Asthma UK to develop and test a special face mask for athletes with asthma.

He explained: “The face mask will warm and humidify the air before it is breathed in, protecting the airways from cold dry air. This will hopefully allow people with asthma to be able to exercise outside in the cold weather without any increase in symptoms or severity.”

He suggested that using the mask on a long-term basis could be a good preventive strategy over the course of the winter. “The current design is similar to the masks used for expeditions up mountains, but the hope is to come up with something that isn't as bulky and easier to pull out of your pocket to be used more on a regular day to day basis.”

More information on #Scarfie can be found here: http://www.asthma.org.uk/scarfie

*Fatality figures collated for the ten years between 2006 and 2015 and sourced from the Office for National Statistics (England and Wales), the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and the National Records of Scotland.

Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact the Asthma UK media team on mediaoffice@asthma.org.uk, 020 7786 4949 (during office hours) or 07951 721393 (outside of office hours).

The Asthma UK Data Portal is a new online tool for journalists to access the latest figures and trends in asthma outcomes across the UK. Information on asthma facts and statistics can also be found on our website.

About Asthma UK

  • In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).
  • Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.
  • Asthma UK’s mission is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. We do this by funding world leading research, campaigning for improved care and supporting people to reduce their risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack.
  • For more information about asthma please visit www.asthma.org.uk