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Respiratory Care Week: Real Life Heroes’

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By: Judy Diggs, RRT Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Respiratory Care Week is October 23-29 so I would like you to join us to help raise awareness to improve lung health around the world. This year’s theme is ‘Real Life Heroes’.

As your respiratory therapist in Pulmonary Rehabilitation I strive to keep you healthy and improve your quality of life. For those of you with lung disease you are more prone to develop a respiratory infection. When you do get an infection, you get them worse and they are harder for you to recover from. With the cold weather soon approaching, I know this is a rough time of year for those of you with lung disease. I would like to be your ‘hero’ and help you stay healthy this season with a few tips.

Remember that most germs are spread by way of hand contact. If you are not able to wash your hands frequently you can carry a small bottle of anti-bacterial hand wash with you. Try to stay clear of people that seem sick. If you go places with lots of people, try to wear a mask. We have masks at our front entrance of the hospital. If you have a loved one you would like to visit, you can help protect yourself during your visit here.

Keeping yourself healthy will help keep germs away. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor. This includes inhalers, nebulizers, and oxygen. Try to exercise for thirty minutes at least five days a week. Also, naps are okay, yes naps! Your body needs time to replenish, especially for those of you with lung disease. You are working hard during the day just to breathe. So, take a small nap and you will feel rejuvenated.

I know a lot of you tell me that getting the flu shot will give you the ‘flu’. But, it is important to protect yourself, because when people with lung disease get an infection it seems worse and is harder to recover from.

Now, if you’ve done everything possible to stay healthy and you still get sick, please give your doctor a call. Chances are your symptoms won’t go away on their own. Your lungs are already ‘sick’ so trying to fight off an illness on your own can be impossible. Here are reasons to call your doctor immediately:

  • If you have a fever.
  • You are coughing more that what is normal for you.
  • You are more short of breath than normal.
  • You are wheezing more than normal.
  • You have more mucous or it has changed colors.

If you have lung disease it is very simple to get started in the pulmonary rehabilitation program. You can call or stop by and see me at the hospital, or let your doctor know that you are interested. It’s that easy! I would love to be your ‘Real Life Hero’ and help improve your lung health!