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Protecting Your Lungs
By Dr. Mark Gloth

Dr. Mark GlothPittsburgh area ManorCare Health Services skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers are sharing information on respiratory health, as it’s key to maintaining healthy lungs. Lungs supply oxygen to the blood & remove carbon dioxide & other gasses from the body. The lungs are protected by many defenses, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need their “person” to take care of them. It’s important to consider the ways that a person can care for their lungs, bronchi, trachea, diaphragm, etc. A few simple considerations can lead to a much healthier respiratory system.

To protect your lungs, consider what you are breathing in:

1) Quit Smoking: smoking is the main cause of lung cancer & COPD. Smoke narrows the air passages in the lungs & makes breathing more difficult. It’s never too late to quit!

2) Second Hand Smoke: lung cancer & COPD can happen to you from inhaling smoke from other people who are smoking.

3) Air Pollution: irritation, inflammation, & damage to lung tissue is all possible due to airborne irritants. Proper clothing, masks and ventilation should be used.

4) Wash Your Hands: common colds & flu are spread by hands through touching infected surfaces & then touching your mouth, eyes, nose, etc. By using proper handwashing techniques, & washing your hands regularly, the risk of infection is greatly reduced.

5) Keep the Air Inside your Home Clean: dust, chemical cleaners & moisture can pollute the air inside your home. Use exhaust fans in your bathroom & kitchen to vent moisture, keep areas dry & wipe away dust.

6) Use Caution during Cold & Flu Season: if illness is going around, avoid large crowds & use proper handwashing techniques & hand sanitizers.

7) Get Vaccinated: vaccinations help prevent influenza & other serious infections caused by the flu. Getting vaccinated protects the lungs by preventing the infections that can cause damage.

8) Get a Physical: visiting your doctor for check-ups is a proactive way to prevent lung disease & detect problems in the early stages. Being honest will help your doctor be able to help order the correct test & prescribe the best treatments.

Dr. Mark Gloth is Chief Medical Officer at HCR ManorCare. For more information, visit www.hcr-manorcare.com.

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