Respiratory Illness At an All Time High In Latino Communities as Health Agencies Push for Better Awareness

Members of the Latino community have recently taken steps to better educate Latino’s about the importance of respiratory health. The CDC has identified chronic respiratory diseases as the seventh leading cause of death for Latinos, alongside it being the third leading cause of death for non-Hispanic whites.

The American Journal of Public Health also published research recently showing that foreign-born Latinos living in the U.S. are disproportionately impacted by asthma and other breathing problems. Farm and factory workers are particularly at risk due to long term exposure to chemicals that pose serious respiratory hazards. Workers regularly suffer from severe respiratory symptoms, especially coughs. If employers and workers could be appropriately educated, they would find that prevention methods as simple as wearing a mask can help to reduce health risks.

Air pollutants can also have lasting effects on children’s health. The Latin Post, a news outlet catering specifically to the Latino population, describes living conditions for many Latinos as “enclave-like”. These conditions can aggravate respiratory disorders in children leading to a lifetime’s worth of complications.

Traditionally, Mexican immigrants specifically have used a variety of medicinal herbs to treat respiratory infections according to the Latin Post. However, many of these herbs only treat symptoms, and acute respiratory infection is often not treatable at all. Education in these communities is important to help improve prevention. Respiratory therapists working with Latino populations might find that an increased focus on hygiene and vitamin C intake as a means of prevention could go a long way to curbing the presence of respiratory infection in their community.

Latino or not, respiratory infections pose a serious risk for people across the country. Better education for people of all races about the causes of respiratory illness could go a long way towards turning respiratory infection from one of our nation’s deadliest killers into a manageable health problem.

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