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Student Gets Involved for World Asthma Day

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June 17, 2013

Hope Burdan
Hope Burdan

Last month, several AARC members participated in World Asthma Day events, a day recognized around the world for educating the public about asthma. We’d like to share this story from a student member, Hope Burdan from Denver CO, who helped in the Colorado Society’s Day at the Capitol. They have done this for several years with good results.

Do you have a community event you’ve participated in? If you are interested in getting involved in service, partnering up with the AARC in the DRIVE4COPD program is a good way for you to interact with the community, with a ready-made program that’s easy to implement.

World Asthma Day at Denver, Colorado State Capitol by Hope Burdan, Concorde Career College, Denver CO

May 7, 2013 was recognized as World Asthma Day at the Denver State Capitol in Denver, Colorado; it was a fun and informative day. World Asthma Day is an annual event that promotes asthma awareness and care of those affected by this condition around the world. This was also an important day at the State Capitol, as Congress was in session and bills were passed. Several government officials, including Governor John Hickenlooper, stopped by our information booth to inquire about the Day.

A peak flow meter was one of the tools used to inform the public about their breathing patterns. Jerome Piccoli, RRT, CPFT and CSRC member from the University Of Colorado Hospital helped demonstrate how the peak flow meter works, while I monitored his progress. Piccoli took a deep breath in, and then sealed his lips around the peak flow meter and blew out his breath as hard and fast as he could. By using the peak flow meter and charting the results on the graph, a person would be able to track if their airways are beginning to constrict before they have an asthma attack.

One of the small issues that occur when working with the public is that participants do not always want to tell us their exact age. They tend to be less than truthful and, as a result, their peak expiratory flow results can be underestimated. They then give us a quizzical look and say, “this isn’t correct—I am healthier than this!” We have to then gently remind them that stating their exact age and height would get them into the correct range, and magically their numbers were on target.

There were lots of interesting participants at this event, but one of the most interesting was Edna Fiore. Fiore is a keen advocate for lung health; she has a first-hand knowledge of what it is like to live with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. Fiore has stated that COPD includes such illnesses as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and sometimes asthma; it is characterized by extreme shortness of breath. She wears oxygen and understands the drawbacks of living with a disease process that can be very restrictive to your lifestyle. Fiore goes to Washington DC as a voice for people with lung issues; she informs, advocates and educates the public and policy makers about life with COPD. We were very lucky that Fiore attended this event.

Being a part of the CSRC chapter, and participating in World Asthma day was a good time. A special thank you for all the time and effort that Letitia Dress from Pickens Technical College took to set up the World Asthma Day booth; Letitia pulled together a wonderful and informative program. It gave the RT students from the other Colleges a chance to compare notes and clinical stories about their school and work experiences. Participating in this event was also a great opportunity to educate the public and raise awareness about living with asthma.