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October is Healthy Lung Month

October is Healthy Lung Month

By Staff

Click aqui para español- > Octubre: Mes de los pulmones saludables

The month of October is recognized by the American Lung Association (ALA) and several health-advocacy organizations across the US as Healthy Lung Month to educate the public about the importance of protecting their lungs against general neglect, bronchitis, mold, air pollution, and smoking.

Louisiana smokers are being encouraged by the Smoking Cessation Trust to take this opportunity to “love your lungs,” especially as we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, by quitting cigarettes and encouraging friends and family members to quit smoking.

Smokers are likely more vulnerable to COVID-19 as they may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity, which increases the risk of serious illness. “If infected by COVID-19, smokers can significantly spread the virus in the community,” says Juan J. Gershanik, MD, president, Orleans Parish Medical Society (OPMS) and medical director of West Jefferson Medical Center’s NICU. “In addition to wearing a face mask which decreases the chances of the spread, smokers are strongly encouraged to quit.”

More than 35 million Americans live with a chronic lung disease like asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis—and smoking does not help.

“We know it’s hard to quit cigarettes,” says Mike Rogers, CEO of the Smoking Cessation Trust Management Services. “That’s why we’re taking the opportunity of Healthy Lung Month, and related observances such as the upcoming Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 19, to remind people of the damaging effects of smoking and to encourage them to protect their lungs from nicotine and other carcinogens and general pollutants. We want everyone, especially as we continue to battle COVID-19, to try their best to quit and to lead healthier lives.”

Tips from the American Lung Association to keep your lungs healthy

Don't Smoke                                     

Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult. It causes chronic inflammation or swelling in the lung, which can lead to chronic bronchitis. Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. If you smoke, it's never too late to benefit from quitting. The American Lung Association can help whenever you are ready.

Prevent Infection     

A cold or other respiratory infection can sometimes become profoundly serious. Protect yourself:

-Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based cleaners are a good substitute if you cannot wash them.

-Avoid crowds during the cold and flu season.

-Good oral hygiene can protect you from the germs in your mouth that cause infections. Brush your teeth at least twice daily and see your dentist at least every six months.

-Get vaccinated every year against influenza. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.

-If you get sick, keep it to yourself! Protect the people around you by keeping your distance. Stay home from work or school until you are feeling better.

Minimize Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution  

The air quality outside can vary from day to day and sometimes is unhealthy to breathe. Knowing how outdoor air pollution affects your health and useful strategies to minimize prolonged exposure can help keep you and your family well. Climate change and natural disasters can also directly impact lung health.

Get Regular Healthcare

Regular check-ups help prevent diseases, even when you are feeling well. This is especially true for lung disease, which sometimes goes undetected until it is serious. 

Exercise                                            

Whether you are young or old, slender, or large, able-bodied, or living with a chronic illness or disability, being physically active can help keep your lungs healthy.

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