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Waiting to Inhale : Hot time in the city can mean too much ozone's in the air



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Respiratory care

A frantic mother sits by her child's bedside at Children's Hospital in Dallas. The signs of ozone exposure are coursing through the asthmatic child's chest.

"Last summer, we had so many bad (ozone) days in a row, it really affected our asthmatic children," says registered respiratory therapist Pat Walters.

Working at Children's Hospital, Walters encourages asthmatic kids to have a normal life and remain active. But, with the ozone threat, that is not always possible. She says when ozone problems occur several days in a row, you have to keep kids inside.

According to figures from the Dallas office of the American Lung Association, an estimated 220,000 people suffer from asthma in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties, and another 220,000 people suffer from other respiratory diseases.

Walters says the ozone problem affects not only people with respiratory illnesses, but also those with neuromuscular diseases.

She says before the ozone warning program was implemented, ozone-related health problems contributed to crowded emergency rooms.

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