October is Healthy Lung Month. Celebrate by taking a deep breath!
The old saying is “You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it”. While most of us take our healthy lungs for granted, people who have difficulty breathing don’t! What can you do to keep your lungs healthy? The American Lung Association provides the following tips:
- Don’t smoke- Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung diseases including lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you smoke, it’s never too late to benefit from quitting.
- Avoid exposure to indoor pollutants that can damage your lungs- When weather turns cold and rainy, we tend to keep windows closed, and harmful chemicals can build up.
- Read all labels on cleaning supplies and household products before you buy them. Avoid cleaning products that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fragrances, irritants and flammable ingredients. Warm water and soap is usually enough.
- Avoid using odor-masking chemicals or “air-freshening” devices.
- Reduce or eliminate allergens, like dust mites and dust.
- Address mold or mildew problems in your home. Reduce humidity.
- Store household chemicals, paints or solvents safely in an outdoor shed. Avoid storing them in a basement or attached garage.
- Minimize exposure to outdoor air pollution- Older adults are at an increased risk from air pollution. When ozone and particulate levels are high avoid exercising outside. Rather, walk indoors at a shopping mall or gym.
- Prevent infection- A cold or other respiratory infection can sometimes become very serious. Protect yourself by washing your hands often with soap and water, avoid crowds during the cold and flu season, and get a flu vaccine every year.
- Get regular healthcare- regular check-ups help prevent diseases, even when you are feeling well.
Here’s to your healthy lungs! Celebrate by taking a deep breath.
Photo by Yoshiko Wong. To find out more about United Homecare’s commitment to excellence, please visit homecarepartner.org or call 503-433-8079.