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Respiratory Therapists Offer Breath of Fresh Air During Allergy & Asthma Month
Date:5/8/2008

DALLAS, May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- May has been designated Allergy & Asthma Month and respiratory therapists around the country are working to educate Americans about the conditions. Of most importance is being prepared for an asthma attack at any time, but especially when the environment indoors or outdoors may trigger an episode.

Each year, there are more than 3,800 asthma-related deaths in the United States. The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is urging individuals with asthma to monitor the weather forecasts on the Web, newspapers or television news to find out if the atmospheric conditions are likely to trigger asthma attacks.

"It could be a high pollen count, smog or cold temperatures," said Tom Kallstrom, a registered respiratory therapist, certified asthma educator and chief operating officer of the AARC. "The triggers are different for each person, but it's important for those with asthma to develop a habit of making sure they are prepared to prevent or treat an attack."

A rescue medication, like albuterol, should be carried by asthma patients in the event that their asthma may be triggered. Respiratory therapists are available to speak at schools where they can educate students, teachers and coaches about asthma and the importance of immediately attending to a child suffering an asthma attack.

"A child may be in gym class and suffer an exercise-induced attack where they need to have access to their inhaler," Kallstrom said. "Those are organizational issues each school must address to make sure students can be treated quickly. At many schools across the country, these processes are in place, but it can't be assumed that all of the teachers have been educated about asthma. That's where the respiratory therapists can help."

Helping teachers recognize the signs and symptoms of asthma and the importance of access to rescue medication as well as how to administer an inhaler properly is a high priority for the AARC.

Respiratory therapists have the knowledge, tools, and desire to help control asthma for all of their patients, but fully understand that an on- going educational effort in their communities must be maintained to helped raise awareness and promote good health for asthma patients everywhere.

For schools or community organizations interested in receiving information from a local respiratory therapist, please contact the American Association for Respiratory Care at 1-972-243-2272 or email at milligan@aarc.org. Information about asthma and allergies is available to the public at http://www.YourLungHealth.org.

About the AARC The American Association for Respiratory Care, headquartered in Dallas, is a professional association of respiratory therapists that focuses primarily on respiratory therapy education and research. The organization's goals are to ensure that respiratory patients receive safe and effective care from qualified professionals as well as supporting respiratory health care providers. The association continues to advocate on behalf of pulmonary patients for appropriate access to respiratory services provided by qualified professionals. Further information about the AARC and how to become a respiratory therapist are available at http://www.AARC.org.


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SOURCE American Association for Respiratory Care
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