Respiratory Care Week (RC Week) from the 25th to 31st of October is celebrated in order to appreciate and acknowledge hard-working respiratory therapists around the world. It is celebrated internationally but most notably in the United States and Canada. It took about 40 years for Respiratory Care Week to become a vehicle to raise awareness about respiratory illnesses and why there is a need for trained therapists in the healthcare industry. Driven by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), it was proclaimed by the United States President Ronald Reagan in November 1982.
The mission of Respiratory Care Week is to:
- Appreciate and thank respiratory care professionals for their hard work
- Promote respiratory health in the workplace and the community
- Show respiratory care professionals’ value in all healthcare settings
- Increase lung health awareness in all environments
- Teach and encourage opportunities in the field and the growth of the profession
Another thing is, in 2003, the AARC initiated Lung Health Day (that takes place on Wednesday of Respiratory Care Week) every year as another way to encourage respiratory care and lung health awareness.
This year, RC Week 2020 that comes with the tagline “Respiratory Therapists: Together We Save Lives” is a bit different in hospitals where COVID-19 cases are still high, but it doesn’t mean therapists shouldn’t take some time to celebrate their profession during the week. They can make use of the week in the following ways:
- Host continuing education events
- Recognize staff members
- Do good in the outer world
- Educate the public about the respiratory conditions
- Spend some quality time enjoying breakfast, lunch, and dinner with colleagues
So, celebrating Respiratory Care Week is not only about raising awareness, but also considering some ways to improve your lung health:
- Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoking
- Exercise regularly such as diaphragmatic breathing, simple deep breathing, etc.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Have a healthy and balanced diet
- Avoid contact with persons having flu or other viral infections
- Maintain social distancing
- Avoid indoor and outdoor pollution
- Don’t ignore respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or a cough that doesn’t go away
- Get vaccinated every year against influenza
- Maintain good oral hygiene
- Consult your doctor for an annual physical
Respiratory Care Week is very important as it promotes respiratory health. Respiratory therapists care for people with chronic breathing conditions and help people who have suffered strokes, shock, or heart attacks. Try to follow the things that you can do to care for your lung health because the lungs and proper breathing feed oxygen to every cell in the body. Without sufficient oxygen, you will become more prone to health problems.
Most importantly, this year, due to COVID-19, it is more critical to keep your respiratory health and immune system in top condition. It would improve your ability to fight off any viral infection or illness.