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New Comic Book: Protecting Respiratory Health from Bad Air

New Comic Book: Protecting Respiratory Health from Bad Air

This month, Migrant Clinicians Network released its brand-new comic book in Spanish, “Nadie sabe que repira…¡Hasta que le falta el aire!” and translated the comic book into English, “Clear the Air! Protect Your Health from Bad Air.” The low-literacy full-color comic book offers information for workers regarding respiratory health and air pollution and steps to protect themselves. Readers learn through images about important concepts like the respiratory system, particulate matter, the Air Quality Index, and the use of personal protective equipment so that outdoor workers can protect themselves. The comic reviews the many sources of air pollution, from farm equipment, to industrial manufacturing, to wildfire smoke, to indoor post-disaster respiratory hazards like mold.

“Farm chemicals, dust, pollen, exhaust, ozone, other air pollutants – each of these are overlapping exposures that workers experience regularly. On top of these exposures, climate-induced wildfires are producing smoke events that may go on for weeks. Farmworkers and other outdoor workers need to know how to protect themselves, and why,” explained Alma Galván, MHC, Director of Community Engagement and Worker Training, who spearheaded the comic along with Myrellis Muñiz-Márquez, MPH, Program Manager, who coordinated the project; Amy Liebman, MPA, Chief Program Officer of Workers, Environment, and Health; illustrator Salvador Sáenz; and a team of MCN writers and editors, with funding from the Thoracic Foundation. “Comics have proven to be an effective educational tool for health providers in the task of sharing and communicating complicated concepts in simple and easy terms and circumstances that are related to the experiences of those who read them.”

Pages of Clear the Air comic

As the climate crisis accelerates, workers who are putting food on our tables or cleaning up after disasters in our communities are at the highest risk of health impacts,” said Liebman. “Respiratory health is where we see some of the most extreme health impacts of climate crisis. 

The comic supports community health workers and other health promoters to convey basic information on health, and complements other popular comics offered by Migrant Clinicians Network on issues of farmworker health, including our Spanish-language comics on pesticide exposure, “Juan abre los ojos: cómo protegerse de los pesticidas,” “Aunque cerca…sano,” “Poco veneno…¿No mata?” and others. Many of these comics are also available in English.  For decades, MCN has provided these comics for free for community health workers to download and print; tens of thousands of comics have been used across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Latin America. Now, our comics have been redesigned for easier viewing online in a flipbook form. Visit our comic webpage to see all of our comics to view and download.