Every breath you take

Those of us who are healthy often take the ability to breathe freely and easily for granted – are you one of them? Whether you are or not, here are 8 “lung health” facts and snippets of information that you need to know. Consider yourself informed!

  1. That nagging cough that wakes you up during the night should resolve itself in about 18 days. It’s normal for an ordinary cough, i.e. one that’s not caused by serious illness, to take this long to go away. In adults, a cough that persists for longer than 3 weeks is definitely reason to call your doctor.
  2. Vitamin C can help reduce symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. It may not work for everyone, but given the low cost and safety of vitamin C, it seems reasonable for physically active people to give it a try – especially if you suffer from a tight chest and cough during exercise
  3. If you smoke, quit, because no other healthy habits make up for the damage smoking does to your body. Research shows that following a healthy diet and exercising regularly doesn’t reduce the health risks associated with smoking.
  4. If you’re looking for an effective home remedy to help ease night time coughs in children, try a spoonful of honey. A number of studies have found that honey can reduce the severity and frequency of coughs, especially in children. Honey also coats the throat and triggers the swallowing mechanism, both important in easing a constant cough. For children over 12 months, honey is actually a safer option than many of the over-the-counter (OTC) coughs medications available.
  5. You’ve heard of 2nd hand smoke, but what is 3rd hand smoke? It is smoke particles that settle into curtains and furniture; and recent studies have found that it’s as dangerous as 2nd hand smoke. The message here – avoid smoking in your home, car and office. Or better yet, don’t smoke at all.
  6. If you have asthma, drinking milk is unlikely to trigger an attack, unless you’re specifically allergic to dairy. Cold milk might cause a cough in some people, but this is more likely to do with the actual temperature of the milk.
  7. If you’re coughing up yellow-green mucus, it means you’re on the mend. Sure, it’s not pretty, but it’s the normal course of a cold or flu caused by a virus. Because this type of mucus is thicker and harder for your sinuses to drain, you might feel pressure in your face, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a sinus infection or need antibiotics. If it continues for more than 10 days though, it’s time to call your doctor.
  8. The actual job of breathing is done by your diaphragm which is the sheet of muscles between the chest and abdomen. These muscles contract when we breathe in, expanding the lungs and drawing in air. We breathe out simply by relaxing the diaphragm, and the lungs deflate like balloons.
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