As the organ that provides oxygen to sustain our lives, the lung is of great importance and to a great extent determines the quality of our lives. Therefore, Lung health should be paid attention to. Many haven't noticed that our lungs are exposed to various threats every day. During the constant process of gas exchange, hazardous substances may be breathed into our lungs at any second and do irreversible damage to the lungs. These damages and harms are not instantly felt but will accumulate over time and eventually develop into serious diseases. It is significant for us to be aware of what these potential threats are and try to keep away from them. This article can give you some clues.
Smoking is a well-known major cause of respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema. Actually, smoking damages every single organ in your body, among which the lungs are most directly and severely hurt. When you smoke, you inhale more than 7000 harmful chemicals, such as nicotine and tar, carcinogens that damage the respiratory system and move on into your blood and other organs. These chemicals and the small particles which consist of the smoke can irritate and inflame the bronchial tubes, and damage lung tissues, leading to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing which will eventually develop into chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and lung cancers.
According to the statistics, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths with a proportion of 90% and is responsible for 80% of COPD deaths. So, if you smoke, quitting can significantly reduce your risk of respiratory diseases and improve your overall health. It is never too late to do that so take action immediately. There are many resources available to help you quit smoking, including nicotine replacement therapies, prescription medications, and support from healthcare professionals and support groups.
In addition, a lot of people believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional ones as these e-cigarettes are growing more and more popular and are doing more and more propaganda like this. Although E-cigarettes produce no smoke, most of them still contain many hazardous substances like nicotine. Some other potential detriments are still unclear.
Air pollution is a more imperceptible threat that lurks around us. It refers to the presence of harmful substances, including particulates and biological molecules in the atmosphere. These substances are too tiny for our defense system to keep out and can have detrimental effects on human health as well as the environment. Common types of air pollutants include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and ground-level ozone. Air pollution can be caused by a variety of sources, including vehicle emissions, power plants, industrial facilities, and household products. The risk of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases like COPD and Asthma grows with longer exposure to air pollution. So, it is important to reduce air pollution in order to protect the health of individuals and the planet. Some ways to help reduce air pollution include driving less, using public transportation, walking or biking instead of driving, and using energy-efficient appliances and products. To protect yourself from air pollution, keep track of the air quality and avoid going out on polluted days. if you have to go outside, wear a mask.
It is worth mentioning that air pollution also takes place indoors. Indoor air pollution usually consists of secondhand smoke, chemicals, and radon. Simple ways to prevent them include no smoking indoors; don't keep anything hazardous at home, especially evaporable chemicals; testing for radon and fixing it in time if any problem exists; cleaning and ventilating your room regularly; avoiding wood-burning heating; keeping humidity level under 50%.
Pollen and allergy
Allergies are the body's immune system reacting to a substance that it perceives as harmful, even though it may not be. Pollen is one of the most common allergens. It refers to a powdery substance produced by plants as part of their reproductive process. It is released into the air and can be inhaled or come into contact with the skin, causing allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms of pollen allergies can include sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, and sometimes allergic asthma, a common respiratory with symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and intense breathing problems occasionally.
There are several ways to manage pollen allergies and reduce their symptoms. These include:
- Staying indoors on days when the pollen count is high
- Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when outdoors
- Taking allergy medication
- Using an air purifier in your home
- Showering and changing your clothes after being outdoors
- Keeping windows and doors closed to prevent pollen from entering your home
It is also important to see a healthcare provider if your allergy symptoms are severe or if they are interfering with your daily activities. They can recommend further treatment options. Also, it is necessary to prepare an action plan. Allergies are often unexpected, it can be life-saving to have a clear plan about when and what medications to take, as well as a backup plan for any emergency in case the medication doesn't work.
Aside from pollen, some other common triggers of allergy include dander, mold, dust mites, and cockroaches. These things can be prevented by regular cleaning of your house and by keeping a low humidity.
Virus and infection
The virus is probably the most ubiquitous factor endangering our lung health. Basically, everyone has got infected by some kind of virus. Normally the symptoms are mild and you can completely recover in a short time. But we shouldn't underestimate the threat of cold or flu. For people with a weak immune system or chronic lung disease, the common cold and flu can develop into serious problems and put their lives at risk if not treated effectively, especially in the COVID-19 era, as it undermines your immune system. The following methods can provide good protection against viruses.
- Keep a distance from infected people and crowds, especially during flu season.
- Wash your hands often or use sanitizers to keep them clean.
- Wear a disposable surgical mask if you have to go to crowded places or if anyone around you is infected.
- Avoid sharing things with infected people, especially things that directly touch our face and mouth like cutlery.
- If you are infected, have enough rest before returning to work. Drink plenty of water and guarantee an adequate vitamin supply.
- Get vaccinated if you are in qualified condition.