Lung Health During the Winter Season
November is Lung Health awareness. Such disease processes that are advocated is everything that may fall under the umbrella of lung disease. Let’s breathe easy by learning the facts of some common Lung Health specifics.
Tobacco/Smoking cessation Stop!
Tobacco use can lead to other diseases such as stroke, heart attack, coronary artery disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and COPD. Using alternatives can help reduce the consumption and in turn your risks of lung disease.
A condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. Asthma can be minor, or it can interfere with daily activities. In some cases, it may lead to a life-threatening attack. This may cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough, and wheezing. The symptoms may sometimes flare-up. Asthma can usually be managed with rescue inhalers to treat symptoms and controller inhalers that prevent symptoms. Severe cases may require longer-acting inhalers that keep the airways open, as well as oral steroids.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is related to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing problems. This may include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Damage to the lungs is irreversible but rescue inhalers or oral steroids can help control symptoms and minimize further damage. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing or chronic cough.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder when breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Symptoms include snoring loudly, abrupt awakening accompanied by gasping or choking, morning headache, and feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep. Treatment often includes lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, and the use of a breathing assistance device at night, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
How do you know if your home is at risk? Here are some potential sources to look for.
• Is anyone smoking indoors? No one should smoke indoors.
• Can you see or smell mold or mildew?
• Is the humidity regularly above 50 percent?
• Are there leaks or standing water anywhere—kitchen, basement, attic?
• Are all fuel-burning appliances (gas stoves, water heaters, fireplaces) fully vented to the outdoors and regularly serviced?
• Is there an attached garage or basement where cars, lawnmowers or motorcycles are stored?
Are household chemicals, paints or solvents stored indoors or in an attached garage or basement?
• Have you recently remodeled or added new furniture, carpeting or painted?
• Do you use odor-masking chemicals or “airfreshening” devices?
• Has kitchen or food garbage been covered and removed?
• Have you used pesticides recently?
• Have you tested your home for radon? Although radon doesn’t cause noticeable, physical symptoms, you should test your home for this dangerous substance.
Keep sources of pollution out of your home
• Declare your home a smoke free zone. Never let anyone smoke indoors. Ask smokers to go outside.
Test your home for radon, an invisible gas that causes lung cancer. Every home should be tested since radon may be found in any home. If your home has high radon, it can be fixed.
• Keep humidity levels under 50 percent. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner, as needed. Clean equipment regularly so they don’t become a source of pollution themselves.
• Fix all leaks and drips in the home. Standing water and high humidity encourage the growth of mold and other pollutants.
• Put away food, cover trash and use baits to control pests, like cockroaches.
• Avoid burning wood because it adds pollution indoors and out. Don’t use outdoor wood boilers, also called hydronic heaters, to heat your home’s water. They add unhealthy soot to the air in your neighborhood.
• Don’t use scented candles or fragrances to hide odors. Figure out what is causing the odor, then clean that up and ventilate to add fresh air.
• Use cleaning, household and hobby products that are less toxic. Don’t store hazardous chemicals in your home.