ETSU’s College of Nursing will be holding a twice-monthly educational clinic for those with respiratory issues stemming from the chronic lung disease known as asthma.

The clinic will be held on the second and last Friday of every month at the Johnson City Community Health Center.

Jo-Ann Marrs, a nurse practitioner who works at the JCCHC, said the idea behind the clinic is to prevent hospital visits and save lives.

“I think we could measure our success by how many people we helped to stay out of the hospital with asthma exacerbations,” Marrs said. “We have done a research study and found that educating people about asthma and giving them tools, such as an asthma action plan and peak flow meter, help improve the quality of their lives.”

The clinic will focus less on the treatment of the condition and more on how to lessen the hardships asthma causes.

“The asthmatic really struggles to breathe,” Marrs said. “Chest pain may occur, and audible wheezing can be heard.”

The conditions that set off an asthma attack are called “triggers,” according to the American Lung Association. There are a number of potential triggers, such as medical conditions, smoke, pets, weather and air pollution.

Common discussions that are held at asthma clinics focus on the triggers that cause the asthmatic to have an attack. In the Utah Department of Health’s Asthma Education Toolkit, triggers are outlined, and avoidance is the primary focus.

Though avoidance is helpful, it’s impossible to entirely avoid situations where triggers are present.  According to the Utah Department of Health, users must be educated on the difference between preventative asthma medication and the type that temporarily treats the symptoms of swelling and inflammation.

During the asthma clinic, staff members will be available to demonstrate the proper use of a number of tools used to combat asthma. Anyone can come to the clinic without making an appointment, and care providers can refer their patients to the clinic if they wish.

ETSU’s nursing clinic is the driving force behind the program, and Marrs said they are more than open to partner with other health care providers to raise awareness of this potentially deadly condition.The next scheduled asthma clinic will take place Feb. 27.

“At least nine people die a day from asthma in the United States.” Marrs said. “We felt this clinic was much needed because people need more information on asthma to keep out of the hospital.”