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by Joyia Emard

Not too long ago in California, the option to wear a face-covering in public was a suggestion to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Now, it is a mandate.

In response to the increased coronavirus cases in the state, last month, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to wear face coverings in public spaces when physical distancing is not feasible.

To help spread the word (and not the virus), the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is a proud participant in the statewide campaign #MasksOnCA.

Created by the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH), #MasksOnCA is a promotional effort to encourage all Californians across our great state to wear their face coverings safely and proudly.

The social media campaign features short videos and still images of actual employees of departments under the BCSH umbrella. While performing their daily tasks to protect California consumers, at work, in the field, or out in public, these dedicated state employees share their motivation for wearing a mask.

Participating departments under Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH):

  • Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA).
  • Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
  • Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
  • Department of Business Oversight (DBO).
  • Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CalDFEH).
  • Department of Real Estate (DRE).

Check out DCA’s Facebook and Twitter pages often to see yourself or one of your colleagues making a difference!

#MasksOnCA #MasksOnDCA to #SlowTheSpread of #COVID-19

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A podiatrist checks a patient's foot.Licensed California podiatrists care for your feet—and your health

Twenty-six bones. Thirty-three joints. More than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. All that and more in just one of your feet.

But if any of these many things ever go awry, the more than 2,000 licensed California doctors of podiatric medicine—commonly called podiatrists—are there to make sure your feet, and your overall health, are the best they can be.


According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, references to diagnosis and treatment of foot diseases and disorders can be found as far back as 1500 B.C., when the Egyptian Ebers medical papyrus recorded some of the earliest remedies for foot problems. Fast-forward to 1774, when the first primary work on foot medical care—Chiropodologia—was published by D. Low of London. Doctors specializing in foot care appeared in England in the late 18th century, and itinerant “corn cutters” became a fixture of North American rural life during the 19th century.

The world’s first organization of professional chiropodists (as podiatrists were called in that day) was established in New York in 1895, with the National Association of Chiropodists—which eventually became the American Podiatric Medical Association—established in 1912 with 225 members.

The podiatry profession has evolved and expanded over the centuries until it has become its current recognized medical specialty. Today, all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, formally license podiatrists, with the great majority requiring residency or other post-graduate training prior to full licensure.

To be eligible for California licensure as a doctor of podiatric medicine, applicants must have graduated from an approved college or school of podiatric medicine approved by the Podiatric Medical Board of California (PMBC). Podiatric medical school includes two years of classroom instruction and laboratory work followed by two years of clinical rotation and patient care. Graduates are awarded a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) degree. Podiatric medical school graduates then need at least two years of graduate medical education (GME or postgraduate residency training) and must pass standard national licensing tests before receiving a permanent California license to practice.


Once licensed, California DPMs or podiatrists are ready to help patients with a wide variety of issues and ailments that not only affect your feet, but also can impact your entire body and holistic health. A podiatrist’s usual duties include:

  • Assessing the condition of your feet, ankles, or lower legs by reviewing your medical history, listening to your concerns, and performing a physical examination.
  • Diagnosing foot, ankle, and lower leg problems through physical exams, X-rays, medical laboratory tests, and other methods.
  • Providing treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, such as prescribing special shoe inserts (orthotics) to improve your mobility.
  • Performing foot and ankle surgeries, such as removing bone spurs, fracture repairs, and correcting other foot and ankle deformities.
  • Advising and instructing you on foot and ankle care and on general wellness techniques.
  • Prescribing medications.
  • Coordinating patient care with other physicians.
  • Referring patients to other physicians or specialists if they detect larger health problems, such as diabetes or vascular disease.

Podiatrists—themselves a medical specialty—can further specialize in aspects of podiatric medicine and surgery, including sports medicine, infectious disease, wound care, radiology, biomechanics, orthopedics, vascular disease, diabetes and limb salvage, dermatology, pediatrics, geriatrics, hospital administration, academia, and research. They can work in a private or group practice, multispecialty groups, clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or other settings.

And these medical specialists are needed: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects steady career growth for podiatrists, citing an aging population with related mobility and foot-related issues, as well as Americans’ overall growing rates of chronic conditions.

For more information about podiatric medicine and how to become a podiatrist or DPM in California, visit PMBC’s website at pmbc.ca.gov; to check a professional’s license, visit search.dca.ca.gov.

Related Reading: Podiatrists Urge Preventative Foot Care for Diabetics and Growing Pains: How to Avoid Long-Lasting Effects of Flatfeet in Children.


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Check your teeth. Do they feel clean? If it’s time for a dental cleaning, your wait time for an appointment may be longer than expected.

Most dental offices were closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, except for emergencies. Some have reopened but are putting off scheduling cleaning appointments. Others are booked out so far that your teeth may feel beyond gritty by the time you get in.

A dental hygienist sterilizes dental equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dental offices are still waiting to receive access to N-95 masks and disposable gowns for employees. The reopening process takes a long time as dentists and hygienists struggle to put together a safety plan for their facilities.

“The dental facility will have physical barriers, visual alerts, and no magazines or toys in the waiting area. Dental offices are properly maintaining ventilation systems that provide air movement. Some offices are considering HEPA air filtration units in each operatory,” said Rosalia Young, who is a registered dental hygienist in Northern California.

Got an Appointment? Don’t Let the New Process Confuse You

If you do get in for a cleaning, you’ll probably notice many changes in the procedure. Before the pandemic, dental hygienists used ultrasonic scalers, handpieces for polishing, and air-water syringes to clean teeth.

“These instruments create a visible spray that can contain particle droplets of water, saliva, blood, and other microorganisms which may include the SARS-CoV-2 virus [COVID-19],” said Young.

A dental hygienist cleans a boy’s teeth while wearing personal protective equipment.

Scientists have published a study that indicates the novel coronavirus can linger in the air for hours and be transmitted via aerosols. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hygienists avoid using aerosol-generating procedures whenever possible and to use hand-scaling only.

“Many offices are choosing to reduce aerosols, so don’t expect your hygienist to use an ultrasonic scaler or have your teeth polished during this pandemic,” said Young.

Before your appointment, someone from your dental office will likely give you a call and ask you a list of questions, including your medical history. They’ll also screen you for COVID-19 risks. At your appointment, you’ll be asked to stay in your car until you are called in, and someone will take your temperature.

Patients are to inform their dental office two days after their appointment if they develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the virus.

Still Waiting? Take Matters Into Your Own Hands (But Only to a Certain Extent)

Young says it’s OK to wait a few extra weeks if you’re overdue an appointment, but it’s important to continue taking care of your teeth at home with brushing and flossing. Follow the instructions your hygienist recommended during your last visit.

Diet makes a difference with your oral health, too. Young suggests eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

“Avoid eating too many acidic foods, which may cause erosion and sensitivity,” she said.

Many dental scalers are being sold for do-it-yourself cleaning, but Young warns that scaling your own teeth may do more harm than good.

“You may cause trauma to the surrounding tissue and remove healthy tooth enamel,” said Young.

If you need to make an appointment for dental health maintenance, you can check a registered dental hygienist’s license by visiting https://search.dca.ca.gov/; for more information about the profession, visit the Dental Hygiene Board of California at https://www.dhbc.ca.gov/.

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Icons of several different types of contracting specialties.More than 40 license classifications reflect wide array of helpful services

When you think of a contractor, you may think of someone who plans, coordinates, budgets, and supervises construction projects like homes and buildings from start to finish. But did you know that there are dozens of licensed contractor classifications for professionals trained to perform and oversee a wide variety of specific construction tasks?


The Department of Consumer Affairs’ California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) issues licenses to contract in particular trades of the construction profession. Each separate trade is recognized as a classification. Licensed contractors may add any classification for which they are qualified following successful application and examination.

CSLB issues licenses for two general—and perhaps most familiar—contracting classifications:

  • Class A is the classification for general engineering contractors, whose principal business is in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill.
  • Class B is the classification for general building contractors, whose principal business is in connection with any structure built, being built, or to be built, such as buildings, housing, commercial offices, and so forth. B contractors can perform or subcontract for jobs that involve two or more unrelated building trades or crafts (for example, plumbing and flooring, or drywall and fencing), as well as framing and carpentry.

Class A and B general engineering and building contractors usually oversee projects and coordinate the specific licensed subcontractors who usually are hired to perform a single specialized job. Homeowners generally hire B contractors for large improvement projects, such as remodeling, room additions, or new construction, and generally hire specialty contractors for home improvement work in specific trades, such as painting, flooring, electrical, plumbing and roofing.

A general building contractor also may contract for specialty work, but he or she must hold a specialty license for that work or subcontract it to have a specialty contractor do the work. So to get the job done, in addition to the general A and B classifications, there are more than 40 separate specialized “C” classifications for California contractors whose principal contracting business involves the use of specialized building trades or crafts.

In addition to popular C licenses—C-8 Concrete; C-10 Electrical; C-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning; C-27 Landscaping; C-33 Painting; C-36 Plumbing—there are several other useful California specialty contracting classifications, such as:

  • C-11 Elevator—Fabricates, erects, installs, and repairs elevators, including sheave beams, motors, sheaves, cable and wire rope, guides, cabs, counterweights, doors (including sidewalk elevator doors), automatic and manual controls, signal systems, and all other devices and equipment associated with the safe and efficient installation and operation of electrical, hydraulic, and manually operated elevators.
  • C-12 Building Moving/Demolition—Raises, lowers, cribs, underpins, demolishes, and moves or removes structures, including their foundations.
  • C-23 Ornamental Metal—Assembles, casts, cuts, shapes, stamps, forges, welds, fabricates, and installs, sheet, rolled, and cast, brass, bronze, copper, cast iron, wrought iron, monel (nickel alloy) metal, stainless steel, and steel for the architectural treatment and ornamental decoration of structures.
  • C-45 Sign—Fabricates, installs, and erects electrical signs (including wiring) and non-electrical signs like post or pole supported signs, signs attached to structures, painted wall signs, and modifications to existing signs.
  • C-46 Solar—Installs, modifies, maintains, and repairs thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems.
  • C-57 Well Drilling— Installs and repairs water wells and pumps by boring, drilling, excavating, casing, cementing, and cleaning to provide a supply of uncontaminated water.


No matter what your project involves, California’s licensed specialty and general contractors can help you do it right. Hiring a licensed contractor is one of the best ways to make sure the person doing the work is qualified and to protect yourself in case something goes wrong.

You can find a licensed contractor in your area using CSLB’s “Find My Licensed Contractor” website feature to search by license classification, city, or ZIP code. For more information on CSLB or to check the status of a license, visit www.cslb.ca.gov.


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The genuine threat of contracting COVID-19 from the novel coronavirus has sparked a new level of hyper-awareness about the importance of things we already knew but probably did not practice diligently.

Just think of the basics: washing hands with soap and water, avoiding those who are sick, staying home and away from others when we are sick.

But, because of the nature of how this virus adversely affects individuals who are older or have a compromised immune system, we have had to alter what comes naturally.  As a species, humans are social beings. We like to gather in groups and touch, especially in the form of a hug.

Before the current pandemic, I unwittingly took for granted the hugs that I received from and gave to my parents. All of that changed in early March 2020.

Both of my parents are over 65 years old, and they followed the suggestions from health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about utilizing social distancing as a tactic to protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus.

I cannot recall the exact date that I last hugged my mother and father, but I know it was in early March.

Fast-forward three months later to June, during a recent porch visit—my family’s social distancing way of visiting—my mother asked if I had a sheet.

I thought the question was odd, but I said, “Yes, you need one?”

My mother nodded and said, “I’m going to hug you and my grandbaby!”

To make a long story short, we kept our facial masks on; then, we used a queen-sized flat sheet; my mother went first. She draped the sheet over my daughter from head to toe, then squeezed her tight, then me. Next, my father did the same thing: my daughter first, and then me.

After both hugs, I felt a swell of emotions surging, and I felt like crying. I hadn’t realized just how much I missed being able to hug my parents, and I felt a sense of relief.

Immediately afterward, I thought, I have to write a blog about this. I had always heard that hugs were good for you, and I hug my daughter and husband often. Still, I needed to know why embracing my parents after not being able to do so for over two months gave me a feeling like I had exhaled after having held my breath for a very long time.

First, hugs are so beneficial that there is national recognition every January 21 to commemorate this form of touch.

Second, according to researchers, touch tells us that we are loved and valued, and makes us feel connected to others. Additionally, this physical touch protects us from stress-induced illness. The “love hormone” oxytocin provides tremendous health benefits, and our brain releases this molecule when we experience social connection and physical contact. Researchers note that oxytocin lowers the body’s primary stress hormone, cortisol. Receiving a hug helps reduce stress and lowers blood pressure, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. It also eases anxiety.

“Touch is the fundamental language of connection,” says Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, in the April 10, 2020 issue of TIME Magazine. According to Keltner, a lack of physical touch can affect people in more ways than they might realize.

Third, hugs are great for our mental health. According to science, hugs increase serotonin: the “feel good” hormone in our brain. When we experience feelings of happiness, confidence, and calm, that is serotonin at work.

Although hugs are powerful, they are not a remedy for everything. If you follow a treatment plan that requires prescribed medication, consult with your health care provider licensed through the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Check the provider’s license status by using DCA’s license search tool: search.dca.ca.gov.

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What better way to spend some time at a local park or pond than feeding the ducks some old bread, right? It’s a tradition that goes back generations.

Turns out it’s bad for the ducks. Experts say there are several reasons people should not feed bread to ducks or geese.

Chief among those reasons is that ducks are like us: They love to eat things that taste great but have no nutritional value. They will fill up on bread provided to them and not eat other, healthier things, which can lead to a multitude of health issues. Popular Science likened it to conditioning ducks to live on “a never-ending candy buffet.”

Other reasons not to feed bread to ducks and geese, according to National Geographic:

  • Reliance on human-supplied junk food keeps ducklings from learning how to forage healthy food for themselves.
  • A high-carbohydrate, high-protein diet is associated with a wing deformity known as “angel wing” or “airplane wing,” which causes the last joint on the wing to become deformed and usually prevents the bird from flying.
  • Rotting bread can grow mold that makes waterfowl sick, contribute to the growth of algae (which negatively affects natural food sources), and attract rats and other vermin that spread disease to birds and humans.
  • Where an easy food source is abundant, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs and the pond or lake will quickly become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the ducks to find healthier food sources. Overcrowding also often allows predators to thrive, disrupting bird populations.
  • Diseases become more likely. A carb-rich diet leads to more defecation, and bird feces often harbors bacteria that’s responsible for numerous diseases, including avian botulism. Also, moldy bread can cause aspergillosis, a fatal lung infection that can ravage entire duck and waterfowl flocks.

So what should you feed ducks? They are omnivores, so ducks regularly consume a variety of foods, including plants, animals, algae, and fungi. Healthy alternatives to bread include lettuce and cabbage, grapes, corn kernels, peas, nuts, beans, dry pet food, and bananas, among many other things.

The vision of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Veterinary Medical Board is an environment in which Californians have access to high-quality veterinary care for all animals. More information is available at www.vmb.ca.gov.

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A chiropractor does a spinal adjustment on a child.Nearly 100 years of professional care for Californians

For nearly a century, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ California Board of Chiropractic Examiners (BCE) has been making sure our state’s chiropractors are educated and licensed to provide safe, professional care. Find out more about these professionals, their licensure, and their licensing board.


More than 70,000 licensed U.S. chiropractors—sometimes called “doctors of chiropractic”—care for patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal adjustments and manipulation as well as other clinical interventions to manage patients’ health concerns, such as back and neck pain. But these tens of thousands of professionals can trace their health care practice back to just one man.

Daniel David “D.D.” Palmer is considered the founder and developer of chiropractic. Born in Canada in 1845, Palmer came to the United States as a young adult. He held various jobs, but always maintained a passionate interest and study of holistic and naturopathic health philosophies.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, Palmer discovered through his study that, although various forms of body and spinal manipulation had been used to improve health throughout the ages, no one had developed an actual system to outline and govern this particular health practice. Palmer named the system “chiropractic” (from the Greek words “cheir” [hand] and “praktos” [done], meaning “done by hand”) and performed the first spinal adjustment in 1895 on a janitor who had lost his hearing following a back injury. The individual reported improved hearing following Palmer’s spinal adjustment, and this success helped fuel public interest in chiropractic services.

Palmer continued to develop chiropractic practices and in 1897 established the first school—Iowa’s Palmer College of Chiropractic, which still is in operation today.


Kansas became the first state to license chiropractors in 1913, but California’s road to licensure took a bit longer, with a couple of twists and turns along the way.

In 1907, a California chiropractor named C.D. Greenall was arrested and fined for practicing medicine without a license. His arraignment and overall legal case was spearheaded by a young attorney named Philaletha S. Michelson, who took on Greenall’s cause in an effort to establish chiropractors’ right to treat patients through their holistic system. With Michelson at his side, Greenall and his case went all the way to the California Supreme Court, where they won in 1908, and Greenall’s citation and fine were invalidated.

Greenall and Michelson’s test case helped lay the groundwork for 1922’s statewide Proposition 16, which let Californians decide whether chiropractors should be licensed as their own practice and profession through a state oversight board. The initiative proposed:

  • The creation of the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners (BCE) with members appointed by the governor and paid for by licensure fees.
  • The prohibition of the practice of chiropractic without a degree from a Board-approved institution and a license issued by the Board.
  • Empowering the Board to approve chiropractic schools and colleges meeting specified minimum educational requirements.
  • The ability for the Board to revoke a chiropractic license.

The proposition passed by a resounding 59.5%.

Every state now licenses and recognizes chiropractic as a health care profession.


Today’s BCE oversees California’s approximately 14,000 licensees and 19 chiropractic schools and colleges throughout the United States. BCE’s major duties include:

  • Setting educational standards—The Board’s requirements, including its regulation of continuing education, prepare individuals to become licensed chiropractors.
  • Evaluating licensure applications—To be licensed, applicants must complete educational requirements, pass a national licensing examination as well as the California Law and Professional Practice Exam, and be cleared of any convictions through a background check.
  • Enforcing chiropractic standards—The Board is responsible for investigating complaints and taking any disciplinary actions.

The mission of the Board of Chiropractic Examiners is to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public through licensure, education, and enforcement in chiropractic care. For more information on BCE and the chiropractic profession, please visit www.chiro.ca.gov; to check a chiropractor’s license, visit search.dca.ca.gov.


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The California Office of Emergency Services reports a prolonged period of hotter-than-normal temperatures expected for at least the next week in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys and neighboring foothills.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Heat Warning through June 27, with temperatures expected to be hottest in the northern Sacramento Valley, with highs to 110 and overnight lows staying warm in the 60s and 70s.

The NWS urges people to:

  • Stay hydrated, drinking extra water.
  • Avoid any strenuous outside activities, especially between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Limit outside activities whenever possible as temperatures are expected to be 10-15 degrees above normal, in the high 90s and triple-digits.
  • Help older people, children, and pets stay cool.
  • Plan to be in air-conditioned buildings.

More information is available at the NWS Sacramento Forecast Office website at https://www.weather.gov/sto/.

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On May 18, 2020, Todd Tilghman became the 18th winner of NBC’s The Voice. It also kept coach Blake Shelton firmly in the top spot as the coach with the most wins.

Did Todd pick the right coach—or did he get lucky?

If you’ve watched the show, you know that during the blind auditions, contestants perform to four judges whose chairs are facing away from them. If a coach turns around, the contestant advances to the next round. If more than one coach turns around, contestants in the spotlight are put on the spot to choose a coach right then and there. If they choose the right one, they could end up as the winner.

Meanwhile, the coaches—using flattery, making promises, flaunting team jackets, etc.—do everything short of shaming themselves to get the contestant to choose him or her.

Who are you going to pick? A contestant has to choose between all four judges during this blind audition.
Photo: The Song Duong/Vimeo

And usually—not always—the coach who shows the most enthusiasm gets chosen.

Good idea?

Maybe not so much. According to an article published in a recent issue of the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology, the lesson is this: When picking a mentor, an advisor, or anyone who you trust to lead or help you succeed, use your head, not your gut.

Flattery might get them somewhere but may get you nowhere.

The trio of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toronto, and New York University did some binge watching; they studied data from the shows that included interviews of contestants before and after competing and found a big difference. Contestants interviewed before auditioning said they would choose a coach based on their expertise and record of success. That all sounds great—except when those same contestants had to choose a coach amid all of that wooing and flattery, they chose the coach who showed the most excitement about them instead.

Why study contests on this particular reality show? Because, explains researcher Dr. Rachel Ruttan, an assistant professor of organizational management at the University of Toronto, The Voice is a “really extreme version of life.” The show places people in a high-stakes environment, making it the perfect place to study decision-making.

All of this information is great for a reality show, but how does it translate to real life? Ruttan says the findings are useful in the real world because quality mentorship has become “increasingly important in the pursuit of personal and professional goals.” She also explained that when choosing coaches, mentors, or advisors, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of your priorities before you pick someone for the long haul.

A separate in-lab study found that enthusiasm and excitement are nice, but they have nothing to do with the quality of the person’s final performance— but precise expertise does.

Final lesson: If you want a cheerleader, by all means, pick one. But if you want someone who will get you where you want to go, pick the one who has what you need, not the one who will make you feel good about yourself.

Need someone to give you the tools to stay focused when writing your list of priorities or choosing a mentor? You might try asking a mental health professional. Before making an appointment, check the license with either the Board of Behavioral Sciences or the California Board of Psychology!

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The current public health crisis due to the novel coronavirus has placed a spotlight on a healthcare specialty that has, until recently, suffered from a lack of awareness.

Respiratory therapists (RTs) are lung and breathing experts trained in critical care and cardiopulmonary medicine. They work with patients suffering from severe conditions including, cardiac and pulmonary disease.

RTs help patients of all ages who may need respiratory therapy to breathe better, whether they have illnesses like cystic fibrosis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or emphysema.

Photo credit: Mercy Medical Center

In the fight to combat COVID-19, demand for individuals trained in respiratory care therapy has increased because these breathing specialists are a vital part of the critical healthcare team.

RTs specialize in assessing patients’ lung and breathing capacity. Should a patient require breathing assistance and a ventilator is needed, the RT performs intubations (inserts the tube into the patient) and ventilator management to ensure the ventilator is administering the appropriate levels of oxygen, air, or pressure into the lungs.

Before the global pandemic, a shortage of respiratory therapy professionals existed. The contributing factor for the deficiency of this specialty – lack of awareness.

“In addition, therapists are not considered healthcare providers under the federal government, but rather hospital or laboratory personnel,” said Lori Tinkler, the chief executive officer of the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) in a March 2020, interview with MedPage Today.

To help meet the need for more respiratory therapists in the workforce during this public health crisis, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Respiratory Care Board of California, in conjunction with the NBRC has temporarily adjusted guidelines to allow more RTs into the field.

Visit the website for the Respiratory Care Board of California to find more information about respiratory therapy and to check the license status of licensed professionals in the state. https://www.rcb.ca.gov/

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