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Happy Lungs, Happy Valentine

Purple banner with two cartoon lungs smiling, with text that reads "We be-LUNG together!"

You've cleaned the house, spritzed with perfume, lit candles, and built a roaring fire—you're all set for a romantic Valentine's Day with your sweetheart, right?

Think again! You might be surprised to learn that all of the above—and lots more—can cause indoor air pollution in your home. Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development or worsening of chronic lung diseases such as asthma as well as lung cancer. People who already have lung disease are at greater risk from those threats, but they aren't the only ones who can be affected.

But fear not, we've got you covered! Check out our tips below for a happy, lung-healthy Valentine's Day:

1) Clean with caution

Cleaning our homes (and ourselves!) is essential to protecting our health and hygiene—not to mention adding to a relaxed mood on Valentine's Day or date night. However, household and cleaning products—including soaps, polishes and grooming supplies—often include harmful chemicals. Even products advertised as "green" or "natural" may contain ingredients that can cause health problems. Some cleaning supplies can even be flammable or corrosive. Fortunately, you can limit your exposure to those risks. Here's more information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

2) Skip the scents

Like cleaning and grooming products, anything with a fragrance—including perfume, cologne, aftershave, air fresheners, and scented lotions—can and do affect indoor air quality, and even represent a potential health hazard for people with allergies and chronic lung diseases. Play it safe and skip the scented stuff.

3) Go electric

We get it: nothing adds to a romantic ambience like a cozy fire and the glow of some strategically placed candles. But burning wood produces emissions that can harm human health. Emissions from wood smoke can cause coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death, among other health effects. People with lung disease face special risks, but so do children, older adults, people with cardiovascular disease and diabetics.

Easy solution: go electric! Beautiful, flickering, battery-powered candles are now readily available at many retailers, and woodless electric fireplaces have charm with none of the health risk. You can always just turn on a video of a cozy, crackling fireplace, too!

4) No smoking

You already know not to light up a cigarette (e-cig or otherwise), right? But secondhand smoke can also be deadly.  Of course, don't let anyone smoke in your home, but be careful when you're making reservations for dinner on Valentine's Day. Although most restaurants no longer allow smoking indoors, be sure to confirm you won't be seated near a smoky bar or patio.

For more information on healthy air and how air affects your lungs, visit Lung.org/healthy-air.

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Related Topic: Healthy Air


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