Healthy Lung Month – October 2020

October

We rarely think about breathing except when we have trouble doing so and that’s why every October is Healthy Lung Month. Numerous organizations have joined forces to educate the public about the importance of protecting our lungs against general neglect, bronchitis, mold, air pollution, and smoking. The bottom line is If we take care of our lungs, our lungs will take care of us.

History of Healthy Lung Month

Lung health has been a concern throughout human history and a phenomenon that has intrigued doctors, health workers, and scientists. Diseases such as tuberculosis, the flu, and many other airborne ailments have been around for a long time, looming over societies like a deadly blanket. 

Tuberculosis, or TB, has been among the most prominent lung diseases in history, with traces of it even being found in ancient Egyptian mummies. It was tuberculosis that prompted the start of the American Lung Association in 1904. 

More recently anti-smoking movements have joined in the healthy lung movement. Cigarette packaging warnings were established in 1966 and years of campaigning have  successfully led to the change in perception of smoking among the American public, with Americans now realizing smoking is a major cause of cancer.

Lung disease affects a huge number of Americans. Around 10 million are diagnosed with chronic bronchitis each year, 25 million are believed to be living with asthma, and over 150,000 die from lung cancer annually. Our lungs are important and Healthy Lung Month is an opportunity to create awareness around healthy lifestyle choices. 

Healthy Lung Month timeline

​1986

Historic transplant

​Dr. Joel D. Cooper made medical history by performing the first double lung transplant.

​1981

​First heart-lung transplant

​Stanford's Dr. Bruce Reitz successfully performed the first heart-lung transplant on a female patient.

​1963

​First human lung transplant performed

​The very first human lung transplant was performed at the University of Mississippi, with the patient, a convicted murderer, surviving for 18 days after the operation.

​The 1600s

Early medical theory

A Dutch scientist called Fabricus believed that the function of the lungs was to prepare air for the heart so it could beat.

​The 1500s

​Two scientists compared lungs to canals

Marcello Malphigi, an Italian specializing in anatomy, and Thomas Willis, an English clinician, both believed that lungs functioned like a system of canals comprised of membranes, air passages, and blood vessels.

Healthy Lung Month FAQs

I want to quit smoking for Healthy Lung Month. How can I start?

If you want to start this process seek advice from an expert. Look online at various resources such as smokefree.gov or go to  your local physician or family doctor for tips.

How can I donate for Healthy Lung Month?

Lung.org is the American Lung Association’s landing page, over there you can take easy steps to donate and volunteer.

Where can I learn more about Healthy Lung Month?

Look up your local medical portals online as well as accredited social media accounts and professional journals.

How to Observe Healthy Lung Month

  1. Give up smoking

    Leaving tobacco behind is a hard feat to accomplish but once you do, your efforts will pay off with an improved ability to breathe deeper and longer, and healthier life can soon begin. Your body (and lungs) will thank you.

  2. Get a check-up

    The best way to know if your lungs are functioning properly is to check in with your doctor. Discuss any shortness of breath and be honest about any symptoms. Pretending that symptoms don't exist won't make them go away. With a good bill of health and an action plan for better lung maintenance, you'll breathe easier in October and beyond.

  3. Clean your house

    Lots of people have allergies, especially to dust and animal dander. Make sure that you are regularly dusting your house, washing your blankets and rugs, and brushing your dogs and cats for any excess hair they shed. Change your household cleaners to gentler, non-toxic varieties. They may cost more but in the long run, you'll be helping yourself and the environment.

5 Lung Facts To Help You Breathe Easier

  1. They take in a lot of air

    ​During a normal day we breath nearly 25,000 times according to the National Institutes of Health.

  2. ​Animals' lungs are different

    ​Most animals with spines are called vertebrates and they usually have not one, but two lungs.

  3. You can get by with only one

    Having only one won't stop you from living a pretty normal life.

  4. ​They're different sizes

    Because of your heart, the right lung is larger than the left lung.

  5. ​They float

    ​Human lungs have that rare quality of being the only organs that can float on water.

Why Healthy Lung Month is Important

  1. October pollen

    Millions of people with lung problems struggle with pollen during the entire month of October. Raking up dry leaves and working outside in unstable weather makes people susceptible to asthma and bronchitis. Anything that interferes with the lungs' job of circulating oxygen throughout our bodies can cause lungs to fail.

  2. Learn why smoking is deadly

    Make a commitment to stop smoking. Respiratory conditions like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and asthma can end up as lung cancer. Smoking exacerbates the blockage of clean air to the lungs. Give your lungs a break and quit smoking once and for all.

  3. Know the warning signs

    If you have a cough that won't go away, see your doctor. It may be nothing but it could be an early warning sign of a respiratory condition affecting your lungs. Other symptoms include tightness of the chest, wheezing, and ongoing shortness of breath, especially when physically exerting yourself. During Healthy Lung Month in October, discover community resources (many at low or no cost) that can help you breathe easy for years to come.

Healthy Lung Month dates

YearDateDay
2020October 1Thursday
2021October 1Friday
2022October 1Saturday
2023October 1Sunday
2024October 1Tuesday