Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
October is Healthy Lung Month, a time to focus on the importance of protecting our lungs from disease, smoke, mold and air pollution. Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes we take the health of our lungs for granted.
Here are four ways to keep your lungs healthy:
1. Don’t smoke
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you want to stop smoking, reach out to your nurse practitioner (NP) or other health care provider. They can help with a plan to stop smoking for good.
2. Limit exposure to indoor pollutants
Make your home and car smoke-free zones. Test your home for radon and talk to your NP or other health care provider if you think chemicals or other pollutants in your home, school or work may be impacting your health.
3. Minimize exposure to outdoor air pollution
Air quality varies from day to day. Try to avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days. Minimizing prolonged exposure to outdoor air pollution can help keep your lungs healthy.
4. Have regular checkups
Annual checkups with your NP or other health care provider can help ensure you are healthy — even if you are feeling well. Lung disease can sometimes go undetected until it is serious, so make sure you schedule a visit with your NP.
If you have any concerns about your lungs or your breathing, reach out to your NP. They can listen to your lungs and help diagnose the issue.