Taking a breath of fresh air

August 4, 2016

Teaching kids about the dangers of smoking is one of the most important things we can do to foster a healthy generation of young adults. At Columbia County Health System (CCHS) in Dayton, teaching kids about respiratory health goes beyond just stating facts and figures — it comes with a presentation that you can touch and feel.

CCHS Respiratory Therapist Tom Anderson visited local fourth and fifth grade students earlier this year with a human heart and lung, as well as X-rays that challenge students to identify ailments. Giving students the opportunity to actually feel the parts of the human body captivates them, he said. He also showed students how a bag valve mask can be used to pump air into the lung by hand.

Many of the X-rays came with important lessons as well, with one showing a quarter lodged in a patient’s throat, teaching children not to put things other than food in their mouths. Working with the health system, local students also took an active role in its anti-smoking campaign, drawing posters to discouraging smoking and entering for a chance to have their poster displayed on local billboards. It’s all part of CCHS’s outreach plan.

The respiratory department at the health system took shape last year, with Tom bringing his skills to offer respiratory services close to home for residents of the Southwest Washington community. He says the equipment in Dayton rivals that at hospitals in Seattle and Spokane. To continue to the anti-smoking campaign, he also leads smoking cessation classes as part of the CCHS wellness program.

Click here to read more in a news story about Tom’s school visits. (Tim Pfarr)


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