Guest post from the staff at the American Lung Association, a proud StayWell partner
The American Lung Association (ALA) is uniting women and their loved ones across the country to stand together against lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of women in the U.S., this week during National Women’s Lung Health Week (also known as Turquoise Takeover).
For Turquoise Takeover, the ALA and StayWell encourage people to wear turquoise, share facts about lung cancer, and donate to life-saving research. Here are some important things you can do to keep lungs healthy and reduce the risk of lung disease.
Smoking is a major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema. Cigarette smoke can narrow air passages and make breathing much more difficult. It causes chronic inflammation, or swelling in the lungs, which can lead to chronic bronchitis.
If you smoke or know someone that does, it’s never too late to benefit from quitting. Learn how Freedom From Smoking® has become one of the top ranked programs in the country for helping people quit for good.
Avoid contact with indoor pollutants
Secondhand smoke, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon can all cause or worsen lung disease. Make your home and car smoke-free, test your home for radon, and avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days. Also talk to your health care provider if you are worried that something at home or work might be making you ill.
Minimize exposure to outdoor air pollution
Air quality can vary by day and sometimes is unhealthy to breathe. Knowing how outdoor air pollution affects your health and minimizing prolonged exposure can help keep you and your family healthy. Keep in mind that climate change and natural disasters can also directly impact lung health.
Colds or other respiratory infections sometimes become very serious. There a variety of ways to protect yourself, including:
- Washing your hands frequently (alcohol-based cleaners are a good substitute if you can’t wash)
- Avoiding crowds during the flu season
- Brushing your teeth at least two times a day and going to the dentist at least every six months (good oral hygiene protects you from mouth germs that lead to infections)
- Getting a flu shot every year
- Keeping your distance from others if you are sick
Get regular care
Regular check-ups help prevent disease, even when you are feeling well. This is especially true for lung disease as it can go undetected until it becomes very serious. Be sure to voice any concerns with your doctor during your visits.
Daily exercise keeps your lungs healthy. Find out more on why staying active strengthens the lungs.
This content was originally published on the ALA website.