What is Respiratory Care Week?
Respiratory Care Week gives us a little more breathing room annually on October 25-31. Hard-working doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, care for patients with breathing difficulties due to chronic conditions like asthma. Respiratory Care Week highlights the information we need to keep us breathing well so we can enjoy a great quality of life.
Respiratory Care Week Related Holidays
Healthy Lung Month
Healthy Lung Month is the entire month of October so, take a deep breath and enjoy! Many organizations have joined forces to educate the public about the importance of protecting our lungs against general neglect, bronchitis, mold, air pollution and smoking. Bottom line: if we take care of our lungs, our lungs will take care of us.
Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
Rett Syndrome Awareness Month in October alerts us to a troubling neurological disorder caused by a mutated gene that affects baby girls as young as 18 months old. One day your child is healthy and happy but the next day she’s having trouble speaking, moving, breathing and even having uncontrollable temper tantrums. This month, discover the symptoms of Rett Syndrome.
National Healthy Skin Month
Love the skin you’re in during November and National Healthy Skin Month. This month makes you aware of what it takes to keep your skin healthy as well as understanding how to treat and prevent common skin problems. National Healthy Skin Month stresses how to correctly use sunscreen and offers helpful tips on ways to prevent deadly skin cancer.
>> Full List of Holidays in October
History of Respiratory Care Week
It took almost 40 years for Respiratory Care Week to become a vehicle to raise awareness about respiratory illnesses and why we need trained respiratory therapists in the healthcare industry. In 1943, Dr. Edwin Levine established a no-frills inhalation program at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. This program provided on-the-job-training for respiratory therapists to assist post-surgical patients with their respiratory needs. By 1973, the organizations involved in this work became today’s American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).
Driven by the AARC, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation declaring the last full week in October as National Respiratory Therapy Week. The proclamation on September 15, 1983 spells out why this week is so important. “Chronic lung diseases constitute an important health problem in the United States. They afflict nearly 18 million Americans and cause nearly 70,000 deaths each year, many of which are the direct result of cigarette smoking.”
Although cigarette smoking today isn’t nearly as huge a problem as it was 36 years ago, the current rash of vaping or e-cigarette illnesses has replaced cigarettes as a new culprit affecting younger smokers. (In fact, as of September, 2019; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are reporting just under 1000 people are suffering from respiratory distress due to this new fad.)
Respiratory Care Week not only shines a spotlight on efforts to reduce disabling lung conditions like asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) but the week is devoted to panel discussions and special events to help raise public awareness about what they can do to reduce devastating lung conditions. Additionally, this week is designed to boost interest on the part of people who might want to become respiratory therapists or other health professionals working in the area of respiratory care.