We’re going to level with you: the best ways to protect yourself from coronavirus are washing your hands, social distancing, and staying home. But you can still be proactive about your lungs.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that hits frail people, such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems harder, and it attacks the lungs. None of these tips are foolproof but taking these steps now will help you breathe easier – both physically and mentally.
Quit Vaping or Smoking Now
Public health officials are concerned that those who vape could be more vulnerable to severe cases of coronavirus. Vaping is still so new that we still don’t have much research on its effects, but we do know that it can damage and weaken your lungs, and even kill you. For decades, we’ve known about the dangers of smoking, and specifically, the damage it can cause to the lungs. If you smoke or you vape, this is the time to take charge of your health and quit.
Increase Your Activity Level
Even as few as 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, five times a week, can improve your ability to inhale, hold, and exhale large volumes of breath. That means cardio like brisk walking or running, biking, or jumping rope. Give strength-training some space in your exercise routine, since exercises like weight-lifting and Pilates strengthen your diaphragm and “teach” your body to breathe more deeply and more effectively.
Yoga isn’t exercise in the same way running or weight-lifting is but yoga provides its own unique set of benefits. Yoga helps you focus on taking big, deep breaths to oxygenate your body. Yoga can help improve your posture. Plus, yoga provides stress-relieving benefits that we could all use some more of right now.
Get Your Flu Shots Every Year
While it’s true (at least for now) that there is no coronavirus vaccine and the flu shots only protect you for the latest version of the flu, it’s still important that you and every member of your family get age-appropriate vaccines. Many strains of flu actively attack the respiratory system and can even lead to death.
Because COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to flu symptoms, getting your flu shot can protect your peace of mind, too.
Minimize Your Exposure to Pollutants
Believe it or not, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that indoor pollution is worse than outdoor pollution. Take steps to reduce your exposure to harmful pollutants and toxins that can damage your lungs over the long term – especially as you ramp up your cleaning routine to fight COVID-19 and shelter at home.
- Dust the furniture and vacuum at least once a week.
- Keep your house as clean as possible to guard against mold, dust, and pet dander.
- Use all-natural cleaning products if you can.
- Open the windows when you clean.
- Ditch synthetic air fresheners and candles.
- Improve ventilation: if you can, spend more time with your doors and windows open. You can also use window fans and air conditioners that send their exhaust outdoors.
Take a Deep Breath…You’ve Got This!
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