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'The Business of Health Care Report'

It’s Ozone Season Again

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

It’s ozone season again and that means it’s a good time to remind your employees about ways to reduce the risks of respiratory ailments.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, those who are active outdoors – especially those with asthma or other respiratory problems – are particularly sensitive to ground-level ozone. Ozone can cause coughing, throat irritation and pain when taking a deep breath. It also can reduce lung function, inflame the linings of the lungs and even trigger asthma attacks when ozone levels are high. Repeated inflammation over time may permanently scar lung tissue.

The EPA recommends that everyone monitor air quality reports and limit activity outside when the quality is poor. Know how to recognize symptoms of respiratory discomfort, such as coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties, and limit your exposure if these symptoms arise. Those with asthma should be vigilant about managing their disease. Sometimes it’s not worth the risk to be outdoors, so plan alternate activities for personal or family outings. Outdoor workouts may need to be limited to early morning so as to not aggravate respiratory symptoms.

These tips should help your employees and their families have fun outdoors without suffering consequences. After all, everyone would rather use their time off to enjoy the outdoors than have to stay home because of it.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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