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Government of Jamaica

Illnesses Covered


 What is asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. People with asthma have airways that are almost always red and sensitive (inflamed). 

These airways can react badly when you have a cold or other viral infection or when you come into contact with an asthma trigger. 

A trigger is anything that irritates the airways and causes the symptoms of asthma to appear. Common triggers include colds or ‘flu, cigarette smoke, exercise and allergies to things like pollen, furry or feathery animals or house-dust mite.
When someone with asthma comes into contact with an asthma trigger, the muscle around the walls of the airways tightens so that the airway becomes narrower. 

The lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Often sticky mucus or phlegm is produced. All these reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated – leading to the symptoms of asthma.

What does it feel like?

The usual symptoms of someone with asthma are:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or whistling noise in the chest
  • Getting short of breath
  • A tight feeling in the chest

Not everybody will get all these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time, perhaps if they get a cold, or come into contact with one of their asthma triggers.

Others experience the worst symptoms at night, first thing in the morning or after exercise. A few people may experience these symptoms all the time.

Subsidy – Spacers and Masks

NHF now offers subsidies for Respiratory Devices – Spacers And Masks for Its beneficiaries with Asthma.

Spacers and Masks are used by children and adults, along with their inhaler, to facilitate the effective delivery of the inhaled doses of medication to the lungs. These devices are particularly beneficial to children and the elderly, as they usually have great difficulty mastering the inhaler technique, which can lead to wastage of the medication and life threatening complications, due to poor asthma control.

The Spacers and Masks being offered on the NHF programme are: Volumatic Spacer (Adult); Zerostat-LAS Spacer; Spacer-H2K; Able Spacer; Able Spacer Mask –Infant; Able Spacer Mask –Child; Able Spacer Mask- Adult; Baby Mask-H2K; Baby Mask-LAS; Aerochamber Plus Spacer and Mask –Infant; Aerochamber Plus Spacer and Mask -Paediatric; Aerochamber Adult Spacer and Mouthpiece.

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