Mission of Healing 2021: July's Theme is all about the Respiratory System

Breathe in. Breathe out. 

We can breathe intentionally. Mostly we breathe automatically. But if we cannot breathe, we cannot live. During this long pandemic ordeal, breathing has taken center stage as a human reflex that should not be taken for granted.

Infections of the respiratory system can be common, like a cold. They can be deadly, like tuberculosis or pneumonia. Respiratory infections can be caused by a virus such as H1N1 (swine flu) or bacteria such as pertussis (whooping cough). Some respiratory infections can be prevented or made less severe by using vaccines. Pertussis, flu and now, SARS CoV 2 (or COVID-19) are preventable or made less severe through the use of vaccines.

Prevention of respiratory infections, learning the warning signs of dangerous infections, and understanding how to properly use medications which treat these infections are very, very important educational themes in EVERY Mission of Healing which we do.  This is our focus for July.  These are a few of the handouts we created for small group study.

Understanding how our bodies breathe is step 1.

An upper respiratory infection is an infection in the upper part
of your system, like a cold, sore throat, laryngitis or a sinus infection.
A lower respiratory infection is located in your airways or lungs.

Although we talked about COVID-19 earlier in the year,
the recent resurgence of the virus in mutated forms
has continued to make this an important teaching topic.

Mask up. Truthfully, people in El Salvador are generally
very well-masked, even when walking outdoors.

Our lead medical professional developed a handy guide several years ago, and it continues to be a very important tool for teaching adults and older youth about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of different types of respiratory infections. Many people want quick access to antibiotics, which is common not only in El Salvador.  We work hard to help people understand that viral and bacterial infections should both be taken seriously and that antibiotics do not work to treat viral infections.

This guide is especially helpful for health promotors who work
with the churches. 

The prayer card for July carries the words of a beautiful hymn: Breathe
over me, Spirit of God, make me an instrument of your love...

As the months of this "virtual" mission of healing continue, we are learning more about what works and what does not work.  Because technology has NOT been a part of the Mission of Healing experience in the past, many of the group leaders forget to look for the videos or just decide to go with the paper materials.  We continue to find and create videos for the few who are using them.  We also have some really fun ideas of how to incorporate multi-media learning in future, in-person missions of healing.

This month, we found several videos which helped us to focus on the main educational themes for the Respiratory System.  The first video from Smile and Learn simply explains the anatomy and function of the human respiratory system.

This video from Smile and Learn is cute in the way it invites the viewer to take notes in an investigation  notebook of the important points when studying the difference between virus and bacteria.  

Another issue we consistently try to address is the improper use of antibiotics - not only by doctors giving them to patients who want them, but also by patients who actually need them.  A person diagnosed with a bacterial infection and who takes antibiotics often feels better after 48 hours.  A typical course of treatment is 7 to10 days. It is SUPER common for patients to stop taking their antibiotics when they feel better, because they want to save some pills for the next time they are sick. This is not only a problem in El Salvador. Globally, the misuse of antibiotics puts everyone in danger of having an untreatable, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection. 

This video takes a brief look at bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics.

The following video is my personal favorite for the month. It explains in a simple yet detailed way how super bacteria develop as a result of misuse of antibiotics

It could be that this video just reminds me of a few years ago when it was my responsibility to give the antibiotic-resistant bacteria charla.  I could have used some props, or this video!

As we continue to create monthly teaching resources for 2021, we are trying to set up a digital library of video and print resources which can be accessed in preparation for future missions of healing or by the Salvadoran Lutheran Church health promoters when they are planning their own events.  


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