Tips for Helping Asthma & Allergy Patients

 Published: May 22, 2019

By: Heather Willden


abstract image of lungs

For Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month this May, we have put together a tips series for RTs. Each week, we’ll post advice from your fellow AARC Members with tips on how best to help patients who are working to manage their allergies and asthma.

This week, Dennis Wissing, PhD, RRT, AE-C, FAARC, interim dean for the School of Allied Health Professions at LSU Health Shreveport, shares his best practices for helping patients.

Dennis’ Tips

Do a cleanse

When I see a patient in my respiratory clinic who is suffering from vasomotor or allergic type allergies, I strongly suggest using an intranasal saline spray to cleanse the mucus membranes of the nasal passages prior to using an intranasal steroid. Lavaging the membranes allow the steroid medication to reach the blood vessels, which are inflamed.

Looking down helps the medicine go down

I will instruct a patient who is using the nasal spray to look down to their shoes when spraying the medication into their nares to avoid getting it on the back of the throat (for this medication is very distasteful).

Practice, practice, practice

I always ask my patients, who are using a metered dose inhaler, to “teach back” to demonstrate how they are using the device. I have patients self-demonstrate regardless of how many times I see them in clinic. I have found many patients acquire poor technique over time and I do not take for granted they are using the MDI with spacer correctly.

For more tips on Asthma and other respiratory diseases, visit the AARC Store.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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