How RTs Can Help Asthma Patients Prepare for Flu Season
Respiratory Therapist Can Help Asthma Patients Prepare for Flu Season
By Tiffany Aller
As many as 49 million people in the United States might suffer from the flu each year, the CDC estimates, despite access to the yearly flu vaccine. Of those, close to a million might be hospitalized, with just under 80,000 succumbing to death. Those deaths typically occur in the immune-comprised population or individuals with chronic diseases, like breathing difficulties that the flu could exacerbate. Although asthma doesn't make people prone to the flu, the CDC reminds, it can hit people with asthma more severely. As you come across asthmatic patients during your RT travel jobs, consider these traditional and alternative medicine ideas to help them brave flu season.
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Prevention can be easier than treatment
Respiratory therapists can begin aiding asthmatic patients prior to flu season by strongly encouraging up-to-date vaccinations. The CDC recommends that patients with asthma get both the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines. That’s because “adults and children with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with the flu.” Overcome vaccine resistance through patient and frank explanations of both the benefits and risks of each injection. Additionally, strongly encourage your patients who have breathing difficulties to stringently avoid others who may be sick during the winter and to wear a mask if necessary to prevent the spread of germs.
Supplementation can aid both asthma and the flu
While professionals working in respiratory travel jobs within healthcare settings should predominantly recommend traditional prevention and intervention methodologies, supplementation and alternative medicine can prove beneficial at times. California doctor Michael Platt, MD, advises that some asthma patients “who are using 5 percent progesterone cream on a daily basis” have found better success in managing the symptoms of their disease.
Additionally, those same patients can take up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily to increase their chances of avoiding the flu. This correlates with a study published by the National Institutes of Health that posits, “The use of vitamin D as a prophylactic for influenza has shown promise in prevention of illness and reduction of secondary asthma in children.” Whether you’re meeting with patients during RT travel jobs or through jobs in your home area, always remember to advise your patients to consult with their primary physician before beginning to take any new substance.
Embrace nature’s natural healing opportunities
Mother Nature augments the work of medical science through opportunities for improved health that can seem inexplicably effective. Sarita Khan, a director with the Vermont Salt Cave Spa, enthuses on the benefit of visiting salt caves for sufferers of asthma. Khan explains that the salt that infuses the air of these caves “works as a bronchial dilator” to provide relief to patients. Khan says salt caves can be found throughout the US, making this an option you can discuss with patients throughout your RT travel jobs as a way to improve everyday health and experience relief in the midst of flu season.
The flu season lasts a significant portion of the year. Do your part as a respiratory therapist to help your patients avoid the worst of its impact through proactive preventive measures.