As a respiratory therapist with 24 years of experience in the hospital setting, I have provided treatment to adults and children experiencing various respiratory conditions that are worsened by poor air quality.
In the emergency room I've worked with the doctors and nurses to intubate asthma patients who could not find relief from taking their rescue medications at home. I recall one evening in the emergency room observing the concerned and fearful looks of a husband and daughter, as they watched their wife and mother attached to a breathing tube to save her very life.
Currently, I enjoy working with my patients in the pulmonary rehabilitation program. These patients have very fragile lungs due to diseases such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis and lung cancer. Many days they are unable to attend the program due to the air quality. Since they have formed bonds and true friendships with the other patients, they often call just to hear someone's voice and receive encouragement when they are unable to come in. Of course, we tell them that we'll miss them, but it's safer to stay home when the air quality is poor.