The Canadian Lung Association (CLA) is a national health charity and the leading organization in Canada working to promote lung health and prevent and manage lung disease. The CLA funds vital research, push for improved treatments and innovative policies, and provides support, resources, and information for Canadians living with lung disease and their families.
Ways to Show Your Lungs Some Love This Winter
1. Learn about chronic cough
It’s estimated that chronic cough — a cough that lasts eight weeks or more — affects about 16 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 45 and 85. It can seriously disrupt your life and affect you physically, emotionally, and socially, but there’s help available to manage your cough. Speak to your health-care provider.
2. Test your home for radon
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can enter your home through cracks in the foundation and build up to dangerous levels. Long-term exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada and the leading cause for non-smokers. The only way to find out if your home has high radon levels is to test for it. High radon levels can be easily fixed at a reasonable price. There may even be funding available to you for home radon mitigation. Visit our website for more information.
3. Don’t quit on quitting
Quitting smoking is hard. People who use supports (including nicotine replacement therapy or counselling) are generally more successful in their attempts. But not all supports work for all people, so take some time to learn which ones might work best for you to give yourself the best chance at quitting.
4. Get vaccinated
Making sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations for viruses that affect the lungs — like COVID-19 and the flu — are some of the best ways to keep yourself healthy this winter. Your health-care provider may also recommend getting vaccinated against pneumonia if you’re over 65 or at high risk for infection.
5. Stop idling
Idling — particularly of diesel engines — generates exhaust that’s harmful not only to the environment but also to your health. Exposure to diesel emissions can aggravate existing lung conditions and, in the long term, lead to cancer or other serious issues. Diesel-engine school buses idling outside schools are a significant concern as this can increase the particulate matter in the air to dangerous levels for children whose lungs are not yet fully developed.