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Press Release

New Asthma Class Breath of Fresh Air for West County

Monday, September 23, 2013

In an effort to reduce trips to the emergency room and improve residents' health, Contra Costa Health Services is offering a free weekly class at the West County Health Center to help asthma sufferers better manage their conditions.

West County residents suffer from disproportionately high hospitalization rates for asthma. From 2007 to 2011, the average hospitalization rate in West County was 1.4 times higher than in the county overall. At least one-third of those hospitalized are people from low-income households.

"We are focusing our efforts in the area where it's needed most," said Janyth Bolden, the director of cardiopulmonary support services at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Centers. "We're hopeful that the self-management classes will significantly reduce asthma-related E.R. visits and hospitalizations in West County."

The four-week class is taught by respiratory therapists that will inform people how to recognize warning signs, manage their symptoms and properly use medications. A physician is also on hand to answer questions and, if necessary, offer consultations to patients whose symptoms aren't under control. Those attending the classes will receive free lung screenings to assess their breathing levels. The 90-minute classes are open to everyone in the community including the uninsured and underinsured.

"While we can't cure asthma, we can teach people about their condition so they can avoid attacks, which can be frightening, and help them enjoy a higher quality of life," Bolden said. "These classes empower people to take control of their chronic illness."

The asthma class starts at 5 p.m. every Monday. The current class is aimed at adult asthmatics, but future classes will cater to teens and children under 12. Anyone interested in attending the class should email Janyth Bolden at or call the Asthma Self-Management Care Team at 510-231-8640.

The West County Health Center is located at 13601 San Pablo Ave., San Pablo

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  • Will Harper
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