Vacuum cleaners for asthmatics - (clockwise front) Ava Tregidga (5), Merrin Bott (7), Hannah Ould (13), Nicholas Bott (13), Tamika Ould (17) and Finley Bott (4).
Vacuum cleaners for asthmatics - (clockwise front) Ava Tregidga (5), Merrin Bott (7), Hannah Ould (13), Nicholas Bott (13), Tamika Ould (17) and Finley Bott (4). Alistair Brightman

Gift a breath of fresh air

THREE Hervey Bay families were breathing easier yesterday after Harvey Norman, in conjunction with the Australian Asthma Foundation, donated three Dyson vacuum cleaners to help reduce the risks for their asthmatic children.

The vacuum cleaners were donated as part of the national Kids Breathe Easier campaign.

Five-year-old Ava Tregidga has suffered from the condition since she was three years old, when she was rushed to hospital for the first time.

Ava was originally diagnosed with a chest infection but when she started struggling to breathe, her mum Jennifer took her to the hospital where she was airlifted to Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital.

Ava has had numerous stays in hospital since that time, some needing intensive care treatment.

This year she has only been to hospital once and, with her families' new vacuum cleaner clearing the dust around her home, she is hoping she won't be returning any time soon.

The death rate for asthma has increased in recent years.

More than one person a day dies from asthma in Australia and in 2008, there were 447 deaths.

Michele Goldman, a spokesperson for the Asthma Foundation, said people were not taking the illness seriously enough.

“At best they put up with symptoms unnecessarily, at worse, they risk a serious life-threatening asthma attack.

“Additionally many people mistakenly believe that sufferers can grow out of asthma,” she said.

“However it's actually a condition for life. The increased death rate should be a wake-up call to everyone to not be complacent.”



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