MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's something most of us do all day long without thinking about it. Breathing. But when things go wrong who comes it to help? It's a group of medical professionals that many people don't even know exist. They are respiratory therapists.
"We are the first ones they call when things go wrong," said respiratory therapist Brenda Basnight at Baptist East hospital in Montgomery. "Doctors or nurses, they all say call respiratory therapy."
"A lot of people don't even know we exist," said respiratory therapist TJ Jackson. "I get called a nurse all the time."
This week is National Respiratory Awareness week. A chance to recognize this group of life savers. The theme this year is "Changing the World, One Breath at a Time." This group works on all age groups from premature babies to senior citizens.
The treat a variety of cases including asthma, sleep apnea, and the most common for adults COPD.
"Anything to do with breathing is under our domain," Jackson said. "It can be as small as oxygen or advanced as a ventilator for people who can't breathe on their own."
"Breathing is important," Basnight said. "We all have to do it. "You may take it for gr anted until you can't breathe, then it gets scary."
When it comes to the kids respiratory therapists spend a lot time treating kids with asthma. There are 80,000 cases in Alabama alone. They also take part in camp each year at Camp Chandler in the Montgomery area called Camp Wheezaway. It's a special camp for kids with asthma to have fun and learn more about their condition.