With the exception of the occasional bout with the flu or bronchitis, most of us tend to take lung health for granted. But lung health is not the exclusive concern of those with asthma, COPD or lung cancer.
Breath is synonymous with life. Our daily choices, what we eat, whether and where we exercise, have an impact on lung health. Read on for 10 best practices for healthy lungs.
1) Don’t smoke. If you do, please quit.
I grew up in the 1970s and '80s, when nearly everybody smoked. Smoke-filled cars, planes and restaurants were the norm. Now we know better.
Lung cancer, emphysema and COPD are possible consequences should you choose to smoke, so don’t. And avoid confined spaces where others are smoking.
2) Get your flu shot.
Each year between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from the flu and its complications. Those with asthma and other chronic lung diseases are especially at risk, according to the American Lung Association.
The ALA recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine annually. In addition, the CDC recommends those younger than 5 years and older than 65 years also get a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, also called PCV13.
On that note ...
3) Wash your hands.
4) Get aerobic exercise.
Exercise increases lung capacity and breathing exercises can improve lung function, according to the ALA.
5) Have your home tested for radon.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is released as soil and rock decays. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking, according to the American Cancer Society.
Indoor radon gas is usually highest in basements and crawlspaces. Granite countertops give off a minimal, usually not dangerous, amount as well. When buying a home, have it professionally tested for radon during the inspection process.