Everyone wants to be healthy. People eat healthier to maintain their weight, they eat certain foods to ensure they are getting enough vitamins and minerals, and they exercise to maintain a healthy heart. But rarely do people think about lung health and how the things that you breathe could be impacting it.
Most people understand that smoking is bad for you, but there are many different things you should be avoiding in order to maintain healthy lungs.
1. Don't Smoke and Stay Away From Smokers
Smoking increases your chances of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. In fact, smokers are 12-13 times more likely to die of COPD than non-smokers because of inhaling so many dangerous chemicals that can change the cells in your lungs from healthy to cancerous.
If you are a current smoker, the simple answer is to quit as soon as possible. The ALA states that within 12 hours of quitting smoking the carbon monoxide levels in your lungs will drop to normal levels. Additionally, secondhand smoke poses another risk to your lungs, even if you don’t smoke. Avoid being around cigarette smoke too often.
2. Avoid Exposure to Pollutants
Exposure to pollutants from cars, buildings, machines, etc. can damage your lungs and can prematurely age them. Attempt to reduce exposure to pollutants as much as possible by avoiding inhaling car exhaust, secondhand smoke, and other pollutants in the air.
If you work in an industry where you are regularly exposed to pollutants, wear a mask or a breathing apparatus to ensure you don't do permanent damage to your lungs.
To have the healthiest lungs possible you also want to avoid indoor pollutants such as some air fresheners, mold, dust, dander, and more.
3. Avoid Respiratory Illnesses
The common cold and respiratory illnesses negatively affect your lungs. While it's not always easy to avoid colds, these kinds of respiratory illnesses can negatively affect the health of your lungs.
There are techniques you can employ to lessen the chances of catching a cold or a respiratory infection such as washing your hands with soap and water frequently, avoiding touching your face, and staying away from others when they are sick (including wearing masks during cold or flu season).
4. Clean Smart
Cleaning products can often contain harsh chemicals that can damage your lungs when inhaled. Products like ammonia and bleach have chemicals in them that can hurt lung health.
When cleaning, try to find natural cleaners which use ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. If you can't avoid using cleaners with harsh chemicals wear a mask when using them.
Being healthy doesn't just mean eating fruits and vegetables and working out, it also means taking care of your lungs by being aware of what you’re breathing every day. Contact Kent Hospital for more information on lung health or to schedule an appointment.