The sudden rise in Covid-19 cases in India has put forward the importance of healthy lungs once again. The virus enters the body through the mouth and nose before making its way to the lungs, where it can inflame the alveoli, harm them, and hinder oxygen exchange.
The lungs are made up of millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli that exchange gases between the bloodstream and the air we breathe. They are also vital for maintaining the body’s pH balance and immune defense by producing mucus and removing toxins and foreign objects from the respiratory tract. Since Covid-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, good lung health can help reduce the risk of severe illness or complications from the virus.
Let us consider a few ways by which you can keep your lungs fit and healthy:
- Quit smoking: Smoking damages the respiratory system and weakens the immune system, making it more susceptible to infections, including Covid-19. The best thing you can do for healthy lungs is to stop smoking.
- Practice deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help expand lung capacity and improve respiratory muscle strength. Try incorporating techniques like diaphragmatic breathing or pursed-lip breathing into your daily routine.
- Avoid Air Pollution: Limit exposure to outdoor air pollution, such as smog, smoke from wildfires, and industrial emissions, as these can irritate your lungs and increase the risk of respiratory infections.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise improves lung capacity and strengthens respiratory muscles, which can help your lungs function more efficiently. Even light, to moderate exercises like brisk walking or cycling can have a positive impact on your lung health.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide essential nutrients that support lung health, such as antioxidants and vitamins. Adding fish, eggs or dairy products that contain vitamin D, also reduces the risk of any respiratory infection.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water can help thin mucus in your lungs and airways, making it easier to cough up and clear out. Proper hydration also helps keep your immune system functioning optimally.
- Practice good hygiene: Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, avoiding touching your face, and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze can help prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including Covid-19.
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