Every time you take a breath your lungs are working hard to keep your body going strong. In fact, the lungs never take a break. In just one day, an average person breathes around 25,000 times. The lungs are a vital organ that seniors must protect.
One of the biggest health concerns for seniors is the development of pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. This infection can range from mild to severe and must be taken seriously. Seniors are particularly at risk for developing pneumonia because they may have other serious health conditions, a weakened immune system, or a recent surgery. Seniors should be mindful of the symptoms including coughing, fever, chills, chest pain, shortness of breath, and green, yellow, or bloody sputum when coughing. Consult with your physician as soon as possible if you are concerned or are presenting these symptoms.
October is National Healthy Lung Month. It’s a great time to consider how you can improve your lung health. Here are some tips to keep your lungs going strong:
- Eat healthy foods
Foods high in antioxidants can improve lung health and prevent diseases from developing. Leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, apricots, raspberries, and cherries are some examples of foods that have high antioxidants.
- Get those vaccines
Talk with your doctor about receiving both the flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine to stay healthy and avoid any type of respiratory infections.
- Add some indoor plants to your home
Plants like aloe vera, fern, peace lily, and English ivy can serve as natural purifiers in your home. These can help to improve your breathing.
- Quit smoking
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of dangerous chemicals, many of which cause significant health problems. Smoking is the major cause of lung diseases like COPD and cancer. Quitting smoking is one of the single best things you can do for your lung health.
- Avoid secondhand smoke
Secondhand smoke can be highly toxic and can adversely affect your overall health. Avoid being around people who smoke near you and never allow anyone to smoke in your home or your car.
- Try deep breathing
Deep breathing exercises strengthen your lungs and help to reduce stress. Take a deep breath through your nose and hold your breath for a few seconds. Repeat this 6-12 times per day to help cleanse your lungs.
- Stay active
Exercising is a helpful way to maintain your lung health. Consider walking briskly for twenty minutes per day or performing some other type of cardiovascular exercise such as biking, swimming, dancing, or hiking.
For more tips on how to improve your lung health, visit the American Lung Association and speak to your primary care physician. Stay healthy and informed!
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