October Is Healthy Lung Month
Breathing is an essential part of our existence, yet most of us take it for granted. Unless you meditate on a regular basis, I bet you rarely even think about breathing. Since October is Healthy Lung Month, it is time to slow down and think about our breath and the organs that make it all possible. Our lungs carry oxygen to each and every cell in our bodies. They also play an important role in our immune system. Our lungs regularly trap infection-causing pollutants and help us cough or sneeze them out.
Keeping our lungs strong is incredibly important. But there are numerous hazards in our own homes that could be compromising our lung health. Hidden dangers like mold, radon, and asbestos can harm our lungs, causing complications that range from mild irritation to serious illnesses like cancer.
Mold naturally occurs in nature and it helps to break down dead organic materials. But exposure to mold can irritate the lungs, throat, nose and even skin. Many people may not realize that their house has mold since its spores are invisible to the naked eye. When mold spores land on a damp surface, they grow and reproduce. To determine that your house is in the clear, make sure to control moisture levels in your home to prevent mold from growing. Most importantly, get professional help to ensure that you resolve your mold problems completely.
Radon is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless radioactive gas that can be found in both older and newer homes. This gas comes from the ground and can seep into homes through cracks. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and claims 21,000 lives each year in the U.S. To protect your home and family from the dangers of radon, you can purchase a simple test kit from your local hardware store, or hire a professional to conduct the test. Installing a remediation system can also safely vent radon out of the area so you can breathe with ease.
Asbestos are fibrous materials resistant to heat, fire, and electricity. Found in a wide range of household materials, from insulation to vinyl floors, asbestos is present in nearly 80% of homes built before 1980. While asbestos is safe as long as it remains in tact, exposure to asbestos has been linked to mesothelioma cancer. Before ridding your house of asbestos-laden materials, be sure to have your home tested by a professional. Removing asbestos fibers should only be done by experienced workers who can ensure that no fibers are released into the air where they can be ingested.
How Plants Can Help
While being aware of these harmful hazards is an important first step in improving lung health, plants can improve air quality and support our lungs. Bringing some plants inside your home can help to remove airborne contaminants and particulates that cause headaches and nausea. In fact, studies show that indoor plants can reduce cold-related illnesses by over 30%. Don’t exactly have a green thumb? If you’re worried that you won’t be able to properly care for your indoor plants, check out this list of 9 air-cleaning houseplants that are almost impossible to kill. This month, let’s all take a pledge to inspect our homes, bring in some plants, and breathe easily.