Canadian Lung Association Blog

World health expert talks dirty

Nino Kunzli II

The BC Lung Association organizes an annual meeting of world authorities on health-damaging pollutants. At a recent meeting we spoke with visiting pollution expert Dr. Nino Künzli and asked, given we know dirty air poses risks to health, what can we advise people do to protect themselves? According to Künzli individuals and communities would benefit from thinking of the health risks in terms of ‘susceptibility’ – in other words – in terms of an individual’s likelihood of being adversely affected by exposure to health-damaging pollutants. How susceptible we are to pollution is affected by factors such as where we live,

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, Research

How air pollution is messing with our genes

Student in air pollution study - blog

Air pollution can make it hard to breathe. It also can increase someone’s blood pressure and heart rate. Those problems are well known. Now research, in part funded by the BC Lung Association, suggests breathing diesel fumes can trigger another toxic change. It can inappropriately turn some genes on, while turning others off. Just two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can lead to fundamental health-related changes in biology by switching some genes on, while switching others off, according to researchers at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health. The study involved putting volunteers in a polycarbonate-enclosed booth — about the

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Posted in Air Quality, Asthma, Lung Health

Becoming Air Aware – How Canada’s AQHI Can Help You

AQHI

The Air Quality Health Index or “AQHI” is a scale designed to help you understand what the air quality around you means to your health. It’s a health protection tool designed to help you make decisions to protect your health by limiting short-term exposure to air pollution and adjusting your activity levels during increased levels of air pollution – and it’s particularly important for those whose health is at most risk from air pollution. The AQHI is designed to give you this information along with some suggestions on how you might adjust your activity levels depending on your individual health risk from

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health

Air pollution at home

Air pollution at home - Perry Hystad

When we speak of air pollution, we generally think about the air outside. However, the vast majority of our time is spent indoors. Few studies have looked at how outdoor air pollution affects indoor air quality.  We sat down to gain some insight with Perry Hystad who completed his doctoral studies on air quality at the University of British Columbia.  Why is it important to study indoor air quality? We only spend about 10 percent of our day outdoors and around 70 percent of our time in our houses. Being that that’s where you spend most of your time, that’s

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On love, laughter and lungs

They say you cannot fall in love with someone you cannot laugh with. True as that might be, laughter is not only the tell-tale sign of compatibility. Is it in fact the best medicine as the old adage suggests? Well, we won’t suggest that laughter will fix a broken bone, treat strep throat or help with a stomach ache. There is better medicine than laughter for those ailments. But while laughter does not replace medicine, it certainly plays a valuable role in good respiratory health. Here are three things that good laughter can do for your lungs and respiratory system.

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Posted in Lung Health, Uncategorized

A man of his word: Smoke Free Grad 2000

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Curtis signed a contract in grade one, decades later, he has never broke his promise. There were a lot of exciting events happening in 1989. The Swift Current Broncos won the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon. The Riders won the Grey Cup that fall for the first time since 1966. My family was moving into a new house on the farm. It may have been these exciting events that forced The Lung Association’s Smoke Free Grad 2000 pledge to stick in my head. Maybe the exciting times made me think positively about my future. Based on statistics, I was unlikely to

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Posted in Smoking & Tobacco, Stories

Eight Years Tobacco-Free and Counting. Honouring a loved one by honouring yourself!

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Kristie’s Breathe Story While I was in high school and in my early 20’s, I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. I ate anything I wanted, rarely exercised and smoked a half a pack a day for 15 years. Shortly after I turned 31, I was hit by a bomb—my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung and brain cancer. I was devastated beyond belief and it triggered a rollercoaster of emotions. For years, as I grieved the loss of my mom, I never made my health a priority. I spent countless hours searching for a way that I could honour my

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Posted in Smoking & Tobacco, Stories

Quitting Smoking – We are here to help!

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Today marks the start of National Non-Smoking Week. This event was established in 1977 by The Canadian Council for Tobacco Control.  However, The Lung Association likes to think of everyday as a great day to quit smoking. It is in fact the best thing you can do for your health! The Certified Respiratory Educators at The Lung Association are always eager and happy to help anyone with their quit journey.  I am grateful to be part of this small but mighty Health Promotion team that empowers everyone to breathe easier.  I find that each person’s quit experience is different.  However,

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How safe is that ‘new smell’?

Britt Swoveland, RadonAware Manager at The Lung Association – British Columbia, shares her knowledge about indoor air quality. Like most soon-to-be parents, my husband and I couldn’t wait to set up our baby’s room. We spent weeks looking for the perfect crib and matching dresser, material for sewing curtains, and of course, a new colour for all the walls. The bedding was new, the furniture was new and the walls received a fresh coat of paint. A few weeks before my due date, I started to organize baby clothes, when I noticed a strong ‘chemical’ smell upon opening our new dresser’s drawers. I

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Breathing: More than gas delivery

Five added benefits of controlled breathing Breathing is a fascinating process that, unlike many other natural processes in the body, can be done voluntarily or involuntarily and can be done with one of two body parts. You can breathe through the mouth (this is a great alternative to breathing through the nose when unpleasant smells surround your area or when you want to win a bet by pretending you can hold your breath longer while secretly breathing nasally) or through your nose. Breathing through the nose offers several advantages. This inconspicuous holder of glasses and canvas for piercings offers a

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