It’s that time of year when virtually everyone is getting sick. It might be the change in weather or purely coincidence, but it’s important to stay on top of your health and take steps towards leading your healthiest life. October is healthy lung month, a part of the body that might not always get the attention as it deserves. Several illnesses can stem from a breakdown in the respiratory system, so it’s always important to make sure you’re doing your best to be healthy, especially as fall transitions to winter.There are a number of risk factors that can impact your lung health every day, some more obvious than others. Know what you’re up against, so you can learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
The quality of the air around you can change all the time, and it’s important to take that into account in your home. Although we often think of pollutants on a larger scale (like transportation pollution) everyday household items could be pollutants too. The hairspray you use, your cleaning products, and even your oven cleaner can be filled with toxins. If you’ve been trying to freshen up your house through air fresheners and deodorizers, be careful. These products can also be toxic and cause respiratory system damage. 3 billion people keep their homes warm and cook their food using polluting fuels says the World Health Organization. It’s important we know what we are bringing into our homes, and what they can do to our families.
There are alternative ways to keep your house clean without introducing hazardous products into the mix. There are a number of eco-friendly product lines for cleaning supplies you can purchase, or if you’re feeling extra adventurous try making your own products. A little research can go a long way and there are DIY alternatives for virtually any product. You can even turn it into craft time with your little ones by making a DIY air freshener together. They can have fun and learn about the necessity for healthier products while spending time together.
Asbestos is a dangerous naturally occurring toxin that may be lurking nearby. It was once widely used in building products due to its resistance to light, heat, and chemicals. If inhaled or consumed, asbestos can have major health implications. It’s a known carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. Although this is widely known, it is still not banned in nearly 70% of the world. If exposed to asbestos it can be life-threatening, leading to cancer such as mesothelioma, which can develop in several organs, or other diseases like asbestosis. Although these illnesses are most commonly discovered in older people, it’s never too early to make sure your children are protected from exposure from this toxin, and grow up in the cleanest environment for healthy breathing and happy lungs.
We all know what mould is, as we may see it once in a while if we don’t clean our refrigerator out. But it’s not just something that is found on old food, it can be found in our homes too. Mould is a naturally occurring issue and doesn’t come from a mineral like asbestos. If there are wet and warm areas of your home, it’s the perfect place for mould to form. This too can cause health issues that may not be easily identified as a mould exposure side effect. It can present itself in forms such as asthma attacks and what you think are allergies. In reality, this can lead to bigger issues and will vary depending on the kind of mould in your home. It’s a smaller issue, but something that needs to be prevented when possible. Make sure you keep your home well insulated, dry and purchase a dehumidifier or two.
Outside the home
There are other things you should be on the lookout for as your children get older.
We know smoking a cigarette is bad, but there are new forms of smoking that are just as harmful, and even more addictive for younger generations. Vaping is a trend that parents should keep an eye out for as e-cigarettes are an alternative that students have caught on to. Although these are believed by many to not be as bad as a cigarette, they still cause several issues and are hazardous to your health, specifically your lungs. There is less nicotine in vapes than a cigarette, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better for you.
The trendy vape these days is called a “Juul” which students and college kids have made social media famous. They look like a small USB, and students can easily hide them in a classroom or at a party. It’s a dangerous addiction that may lead to cigarettes and general bad smoking habits down the line. E-cigarette users are thirty per cent more likely to start smoking within six months, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As school is now in session it’s important to be “in the know” about these bad habits that can impact your children and their health down the line.
What you can do
As the weather changes, it’s vital we pay attention to all these potential risks to ensure we aren’t getting sick, and that our children are as healthy as can be. In order to keep your lungs healthy and strong, you can do little things that will make a big impact. For example, try to have a regular exercise schedule. Your body, lungs, and heart will thank you. Get outside and take a walk with the family or practice yoga, which can help you focus on your breathing and increase lung capacity.
In general, just remember this time of year is cause for a little extra cleaning around the house. If your children spend their day in school they are likely to come home with a cold or a runny nose, so reminding the entire family to wash their hands can go a long way. As long as you pay attention to the things we mentioned above, a cold will be your biggest concern and the easiest fix!