Whether it’s flu season, a pandemic, or bad air, one thing Baby Boomers want to avoid is respiratory disease. As I sit here writing this post, fires are engulfing forests and towns all over the Western United States.
Bad air or the beginning of a cold can cause you to have an itchy throat or a little cough. If you don’t take care of it, it may develop into something worse, like bronchitis, pneumonia. Simply living in a polluted environment can weaken your immune system and make it hard for you to breathe.
To keep your lungs healthy do all you can to improve your personal environment because a respiratory disease could become life-threatening or debilitating.
Below are 16 Tips for Baby Boomers to avoid respiratory disease and protect your lungs:
- Don’t allow smoking (of any kind) inside your home. 2nd hand smoke causes cancer and makes your environment smell.
- Don’t pile up firewood indoors. Instead, bring in only a few pieces at a time because the wood may breed mold.
- Take your recyclables outside to store such as newspapers, cleaning rags, empty bottles, etc. Some of these items cause toxic fumes even when you can’t smell them.
- Regulate the humidity levels in your home so mold won’t grow. If you feel like you have congestion, use a humidifier but make sure to clean it out frequently.
- Change the air filter in your air conditioner and heater every 2-3 months.
- Clean out your vacuum filter bag to avoid breathing in excess dust particles.
- Remove your old carpets or don’t install them at all. Carpets collect an insane amount of dirt, grime, and who knows what else even if you vacuum them frequently. It’s healthier overall to lay your floors with wood or tile instead and decorate with area rugs that can be cleaned.
- Make sure you have a carbon monoxide monitor installed in your home that’s working. Test it regularly.
- Don’t cook with charcoal indoors.
- Don’t forget to turn off the stove or oven, especially if you’re using gas, and check for leaks.
- Have your home tested for radon.
- Use cleaning products that are biodegradable, fragrance-free, and safe for the environment as they will be less toxic for your lungs.
- Rinse off immediately after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Too much chlorine can cause breathing problems for those who are sensitive. If you are using bleach for cleaning open a window or use a less toxic product.
- Check your personal body, face, and hair products. Try to use “natural” products if possible.
- Close the windows if you smell the exhaust from nearby cars, garden leaf blowers, or other toxic fumes.
- Use natural room deodorants rather than highly perfumed carpet or upholstery fresheners. An open window is often the best way to air out a room.
If you live in a big city or near a toxic occurrence like a fire, check the air quality for your location at AirNow.gov. If it’s bad, stay indoors or at least wear a mask.
Do your best to avoid illnesses like the flu or a virus that could eventually cause severe respiratory distress. Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask if the situation calls for it.
This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated 2020.
What tips do you have to prevent respiratory disease? Please leave a comment below.