October 24-30 is Respiratory Care Week – a time to celebrate respiratory therapists who work tirelessly helping those living with lung diseases breathe easier. Whether testing for lung function in a young child with asthma, or helping someone with COPD use an oxygen tank, respiratory therapists give people the power to take control and live to the fullest.
Their work is especially important considering how common lung diseases are in the United States:
• 25 million people live with asthma
• 16 million live with COPD and another 16 million have undiagnosed symptoms
• Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women
Respiratory therapists help people better understand and manage their illnesses, allowing them to live without distraction from symptoms. They also provide treatments to those in need of care, improving lung health and way of life.
For respiratory therapists like Rose Riggins, CRTT of AMITA LaGrange in Illinois, it’s way more than a job – it’s getting to know people, their lives and their stories.
“Working with the patients throughout the years has made them feel like family,” she says.
If you are living with lung disease, here are some of respiratory therapists’ most common tips for preventing additional complications and living the healthiest way possible:
• Get a flu shot every year to prevent additional complications of lung disease
• Live smoke-free and avoid secondhand smoke or close contact with smokers
• Eat right to maintain the most energy for staying healthy
• Avoid chemicals – like scented candles and harsh household cleaners – that may cause lung flare-ups
• Monitor air quality and avoid the outdoors on poor air quality days
Join RHA this week and every day in saying thank you to respiratory therapists everywhere!
To learn more about becoming a respiratory therapist, view these resources.