Lung health is essential for breathing, but also to ensure every organ
in your body receives enough oxygen to function properly. While we know
that smoking can damage tissue and increase risk of developing cancer,
there are lots of other common pollutants, irritants and conditions that
can put your lung health at risk:
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
for the smoker. But did you know that second-hand smoke can cause numerous
health issues for those sharing living or work space with a smoker? Prolonged
exposure has serious risks, but even brief exposure can damage cells.
If you’re a smoker there’s never been a better time to quit
for the sake of your health and the health of those you love.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control’s smoking cessation webpage
to get started.
Air Pollution - Outdoors
Harmful substances in the air can irritate your airways and make it hard
to breathe. It can be especially dangerous for those living with lung
conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If you’re enjoying the outdoors, avoid high traffic areas like busy
intersections, especially while exercising. Also, choosing to help stop
air pollution by walking, biking or carpooling is one way to have an impact
on the larger issue. And while air pollution won’t be solved overnight,
you can monitor the air quality in your community by visiting
Air Pollution – Indoors
Indoor pollutants such as mold, dust, and pet dander can all get into your
lungs and cause irritation. Make your home smoke-free and clean, dust
all surfaces and vacuum at least once a week. Using a vacuum with a HEPA
filter will make a big difference in the air quality of your home.
Cleaning products help keep our homes safe and germ free. But many contain
harsh chemicals that can irritate lungs. One easy fix is to use a mask
when cleaning, or ensure your home is properly ventilated, opening windows
and increasing air flow when using strong products. Also, many messes
can be effectively cleaned up with soap and water.
While not using your lungs isn’t a pollutant, it certainly can have
a negative impact on your overall health. Breathing exercises can make
your lungs more efficient and regular exercise can build lung capacity
and strength, improving your overall health.
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