Literatus: Protect your lungs


IF YOU want to relax before going to sleep, Sebastian Faulks’ advice in “Engleby” (2007) may help: “Inhale and hold the evening in your lungs.” The lungs are vital organs that should not be taken for granted.

The lungs, most importantly, take oxygen from the air and deliver it to the bloodstream. The bloodstream distributes oxygen to all tissues in the body. Each breath taken affects every dimension of the body and its health. Thus, the lungs are vital organs in the human body. It must be defended from any damage as far as possible.

Here are ordinary causes of lung damage:

The first are molds. This type of fungus easily escapes into the air and is breathed in. If it enters the lungs, it can cause serious lung infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Molds are found at home in leaks, compost piles and cut grass in lawns. Thus, if you get near these areas or materials, make sure you wear a thin-pored mask.

Second are carpets. Carpets are known traps of disease-causing agents. It traps molds, cockroach droppings, dog hairs, dust mites and even toxic gases. Vacuum the carpets at least thrice weekly. Steam them clean at least annually. Alternatively, throw rugs may be opted for as they can be cleaned outside the house. The best choice is not to use carpets. A hard tiled or wooden floor is safer to use.

Third are airbags. These car crash protectors contain sodium azide, which assists in pushing out these bags during crash. Sodium azide is a powdery compound that escapes from the airbags and into the air. From there, it can be breathed in. Excess amounts of inhaled sodium azide can cause a deposition of fluid in the lungs.

The fourth are flours. Baking at home can lead to flour inhalation. Even after baking, it can stick on clothes, skin and even hair, from where it can be inhaled. Flour causes the so-called “baker’s asthma.” Untreated asthma can eventually cause lung damage.

Last, among still other common causes of lung damage, nitrous oxide from burning gas in cooktops, ovens, and space heaters can inflame the lungs and trigger the development of asthma if repeated regularly. The gas also rises up from burning wood, cooked oil, burning coal and kerosene in stoves. Make sure that your cooking area, including the entire house, is well-ventilated. A good exhaust fan and an air-conditioning system can help remove nitrous oxide from the home interior environment.

Protect your lungs. If all things are possible, breathe poetry.


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