9 Ways to Protect Your Lungs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

5 min read
Lungs X Ray

The coronavirus negatively affects the health of your lungs. While we don’t know the long term repercussions of the virus quite yet, we know that you can take steps to minimize your lung’s exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading to learn them all.

9. Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking
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Smoking damages your lung tissues as well as your lungs’ ability to function. It’s also a major cause of cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. But, it’s not just smoking that can cause lung problems. Vaping can and does contribute to it as well. In fact, both smoking and vaping are linked to lung inflammation and lowered immune function in the lung’s airways, which can increase the likelihood of complications if you contract the coronavirus.

Even if you’ve been smoking for years, you can see positive changes immediately upon quitting. For example, just a few hours after quitting smoking, carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal. Some things take a bit longer — like lung function, for example. You’ll see improvements in this area in just two weeks of quitting. Even years down the road you’ll reap the benefits. A decade after quitting, the risks of bladder and lung cancers are halved.

8. Exercise

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According to a recent study conducted by the University of Virginia (UVA), exercising is important during this pandemic. Dr. Zhen Yan, a professor at UVA’s Cardiovascular Research Center, told Charlottesville, Virginia’s, NBC 29 that regular exercise promotes the production of special antioxidants that protect the lungs. In fact, another study that was completed before the start of the pandemic showed that these antioxidants can help protect the lungs from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, which happens to be one of the major causes of death in coronavirus patients.

7. Eat Right

Eating Healthy
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Eating right can help build up your immune system and reduce inflammation, both of which are crucial to the body when dealing with a virus — and even before a virus hits. That being said, make sure you consume foods that are high in antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables (e.g. bananas, apples, tomatoes, and grapes), and foods that are high in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and other cold-water fish.

Here are some other important foods to eat:

  • Mushrooms – high in vitamin D.
  • Sardines – high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Thyme – used to treat bronchitis, whooping cough, and sore throat.
  • Oregano Oil – natural booster because it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

6. Minimize Your Exposure to Indoor Pollutants

Indoor Pollutants
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Stilfehler / CC BY-SA

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, indoor pollutants are worse than outdoor pollutants. As a result, you should do all you can to minimize your exposure to them. Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to keep your home free of mold, dust, and pet dander. One way to do that is to dust and vacuum at least once a week. And, when you use household cleaners, make sure you choose all-natural cleaning products whenever possible. In addition to thoroughly cleaning your home, you also need to make sure that your home is properly ventilated. You can do this by keeping your doors and windows open, when the weather permits, and by using window fans and air conditioners that send their exhaust outside.