Magazine article USA TODAY

Therapists at Highest Risk for Asthma

Magazine article USA TODAY

Therapists at Highest Risk for Asthma

Article excerpt

Respiratory therapists are at an increased risk of developing asthma and asthma-related symptoms due to their involvement in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with these conditions. A study shows that respiratory therapists have an elevated prevalence of asthma diagnosis after they enter into the profession and, when compared to physiotherapists, are more than twice as likely to develop respiratory symptoms. Moreover, the administration of specific aerosolized medications and the use of certain diagnostic equipment were associated with an increased risk of asthma.

"Respiratory therapists play a significant role in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory conditions in patients. However, routine monitoring and care of patients can expose therapists to trace amounts of airborne agents that can trigger respiratory symptoms and cause exacerbations of acute asthma," indicates lead author Helen Dimich-Ward of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. "Although long-term use of protective masks may not be practical in undertaking certain procedures, their use and the use of other personal protection items are essential when caring for patients who are infectious."

Researchers examined the link between asthma diagnosis and prevalence of respiratory symptoms in therapists based on their work-related risk factors. …

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