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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My answers to your respiratory questions

Each week I check my statcounter to see who's typing things into Google or Yahoo and being linked to my RT Cave blog. I provide this spot each week to make sure no query goes unanswered.Today's focus is on random questions.

1. cigarettes good for asthma? Absolutely not. In fact, despite old fallacies, cigarette smoke can make asthma worse.

2. can a treatment of albuterol solution help chest congestion due to pneumonia? If the pneumonia breaks up causing bronchospasm, pneumonia might help open up the airways. Otherwise, Albuterol will not do anything for pneumonia. Pneumonia is a disease of inflammation of the alveoli, and Ventolin particles do not get down that far into the lungs. Likewise, Ventolin is a bronchodilator that does nothing for inflammation.

3. is humidity bad for lungs : Humidity is not a trigger for any respiratory disease. However, humid air is thicker/ heavier air that can make breathing more difficult for those with already compromised lungs. Actually, humid air can make breathing more difficult for a person with normal lungs. This is also a reason why those with lung diseases should not use humidifiers or sit treat their acute short of breath symptoms with a hot steamy shower.

4. smartest doctors: The smartest doctors are not necessarily those with the highest IQ, rather those who have the most common sense, are the hardest workers, keep up on their medical wisdom, and work with their patients to the benefit of the patient.

5. things respiratory therapist complain about most: Ordered therapies that are not indicated. Doing a therapy because it's part of a protocol, not because the patient needs it. Doing a therapy to meed criteria so the hospital can get reimbursed, and not because the patient needs it. Doing a therapy because a doctor ordered it, and not because the patient needs it.

6. why do we see our breath on cold days?: According to Ask a scientist: "Your breath has moisture (water vapor) in it. When you exhale into very cold outdoor air, the moisture-laden atmosphere from your lungs becomes chilled to the point where the water condenses into a fog... Warm air (your breath) can hold more water vapor than cold air. When you breath out, your breath cools and the water vapor must leave their. It condenses and you see it as a cloud."

7. breath smells like smoke but do not smoke: You probably better talk to your doctor about this. Or, better yet, your dentist.

8. bipap/excrete co2 how: The IPAP setting on the BiPAP can control the patients depth of inspiration. The greater the inspiration (the higher the tidal volume), the more air the patient takes in, and the more CO2 that can leave the lungs with each breath. Thus, the higher the IPAP setting, the higher the tidal volume, the more CO2 the patient will blow off.

9. scratchy neck: This can be a tell tale sign of an impending asthma attack for many asthmatics. I used to get this sign when my theophylin level was low when I forgot to take it. However, since I've been weaned off theophylin, I've never had this symptom. I think the reason the neck becomes scratchy no one really knows.

10. are respiratory therapist programs hard?: Yes. It is an intense two year program mainly due to the fact that the AARC wants to improve respect for this profession by making us as knowledgeable as doctors when it comes to the respiratory system. This is a good thing. But, you better study your butt off. This is also a way to weed out the chumps, the lazy RTs, and the people who just want to work without thinking.

11. what order should patients be seen: By order of severity. A person not breathing or in cardiac arrest should be #1, a patient with CP or difficulty breathing #2, and down the line, a person who generally does not look good #3, and all those people who come to the ER for things they could go to the doctor's office for last on the priority list.

12. why ventolin given for high potassium: Studies show ventolin has been proven to cause potassium to go down. Perhaps this is why I crave bananas all the time

If you have further questions email me at

1 comment:

Kerri said...

I've never craved bananas due to Ventolin, but after starting Symbicort I had one crazy spazzy muscle cramp (at 4 am no less). Then I discovered my house was out of bananas. It wasn't fair :).

I love the answers--and seeing what people Googled to get to your blog! It's fun to check on mine, too.