Respiratory Problems Epidemic In Southern California’s Coachella Valley

Desert air, for many, is the ultimate in healthy living. But those living in the Coachella Valley may not be breathing the clean air they have come to expect in these areas of the country.

In fact, a new report on the Coachella Valley uncovered that breathing problems in this area of the country are prevalent, thanks to a number of factors, including:

  • The highways of the region are crowded with large trucks transporting crops between Los Angeles and Phoenix.
  • The region’s robust agricultural industry sends pesticides into the air. Annual grass scalping and burns also fill the air with lung-irritating contaminants.
  • Because the nearby Salton Sea is drying out, when the wind kicks up, dangerous dust clouds of sentiment off the floor of the sea are sent into the air.

The report from the Health Assessment Resource Center brings to light the problem in the Coachella Valley and the health of the people in the region. Specifically, the report found that a “substantial” number of residents in the Coachella Valley have been diagnosed with respiratory disease.

A local respiratory therapist said that many of her patients in the region “struggle to take a breath.”

About 18 percent of all adults in the valley (or nearly 62,000 people) have been diagnosed with respiratory disease. In addition, nearly 11 percent of children have been diagnosed with asthma.

The report also found that related conditions, such as COPD, have increased from 3.6 in 2007 to more than 9 percent in 2013.

Many area medical professionals, including respiratory therapists, say that residents of the area can change their lives if they are armed with the right education and tools. Patients must be educated on breathing techniques, appropriate exercises, stress management techniques, and steps to take for preventing respiratory emergencies.


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