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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
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SOURCE American Association for Respiratory Care
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