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Breathing is Difficult on Bad Air Days

David Bass remembers well the gentleman who resigned himself to staying indoors from early summer to late fall because poor air quality made breathing too difficult.

Bass, the interim manager of respiratory therapy at Rowan Regional Medical Center, says air pollution has an adverse effect on people who suffer from various respiratory illnesses. ěWhen you have a period with a lot of bad air quality days, you definitely see a rise in the number of respiratory patients that come in,î he says.

Patients with asthma are particularly vulnerable because of their reactive airways. ěThe irritants you find in air pollution can simply push them over the edge into an asthma attack and the bronchial spasm that goes with that,î Bass says. People with chronic respiratory diseases like emphysema or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are sensitive to even mild changes in the humidity, so increased levels of air pollution have a serious impact on them.

Rowan Regional sees a high volume of respiratory patients. ěItís a tremendous number and itís seasonal,î Bass says. ěWhen you have a period with a lot of bad air quality days, you definitely see a rise in the number of respiratory patients that come in.î

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