By Beth Ann Downey
To help raise awareness locally on World Asthma Day, the Blair County Respiratory Disease Society will hold theiritsnyone who wants to learn more about allergies and asthma and how not to let their symptoms run their lives.
The Asthma and Allergy Conference, featuring presentations from local physicians and specialists, will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Altoona Regional Health System, on the sixth floor in the Magee Lecture Hall.
Rachel Derby, development director for the society, said attendees in the past have been everyone from allergy and asthma patients and their families to professionals, caregivers and nursing students. She added that there are many opportunities to ask questions, as well as the opportunity to meet with the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture various treatments.
"It's a unique opportunity to get a professional perspective on an issue," she said. "They can get [information] from the horse's mouth, what the medications are and what they can do."
If you go
What: Asthma and Allergy Conference, sponsored by the Blair County Respiratory Disease Society
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Altoona Regional Health System, sixth floor in the Magee Lecture Hall
Details: Event is free and open to the public
Presentations will be given by Dr. Jeffrey Rosch, a physician with Central PA Asthma and Allergy Care; Dr. George Zlupko, a physician at the Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania; and Dr. Timothy Lucas, a lung specialist who is the medical director of the ARHS Institute for Sleep Medicine.
Rosch has been involved with the annual event since it first began, and feels it provides a very important service to the area. He will speak primarily about the care of asthma, but also about the most recent advancements in medicines and treatments for both child patients and adults.
Rosch also hopes to provide attendees with a forum-like atmosphere, where anyone affected by these two conditions can have questions answered and have the opportunity to interact with other people experiencing similar problems .
"We really try to make it informative, but interactive so that everybody can participate," he said. "We really like two-way interaction. ... We'd much prefer dialogue than a monologue."
Though he will speak about specific medications, like a new brand for severe sufferers called Xolair, and a heat therapy called Bronchial Thermoplasty, he ensures that the event gives people the opportunity to learn from a series of non-biased presentations.
"We're not trying to push one treatment or another, just give people better information so they can take a better part in their care," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.