Thought about quitting smoking? Maybe now is the right and the perfect time to do so. Out of all the benefits you will see from quitting, the major ones will be critical in decreasing the chance of you getting the virus or the number of symptoms you will experience if contracted with it. Yes, the recovery of your lungs from the damage caused by long term smoking will take months, however, you will start to see the positive changes in your health and conditions.
One of the first parts to heal from quitting smoking is the cilia in your lungs; these are hairlike projections that wave in a back and forth motion as air comes in and out of the lungs. These help in clearing the mucus created from viruses and infections, fighting off colds and infections, and removing the mucus build up in the lungs. The coughing associated with colds or infections you get is due to the body’s effort in clearing out mucus, called the mucociliary escalator, which is vital in fighting the coronavirus. The reason why the elderly individuals are at risk with coronavirus is because they do not have a strong enough cough to clear up the mucus, which exposes them to excessive lung fluid that often limits breathing caused by coronavirus.
In addition, the chronic inflammation in your body will go away after a few weeks into non-smoking. Some of the common symptoms experienced while smoking such as, shortness of breath when walking or climbing stairs will not be visible any longer. Dr. Brian Christman, a volunteer spokesman with the American Lung Association and a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University noted, “smokers tend to need several months to stop producing higher levels of mucus, which their lungs create in order to clear out tar and other particulates contained in cigarettes”. Trying to have your lungs in good condition is crucial at times like this and for potential infection from coronavirus. One of the symptoms seen from the patients of coronavirus is acute lung injury, which causes leakiness in mucus membranes that lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome. This can cause them to drown in their own mucus. Respiratory failure or a severe lung damage is common among those who are diagnosed with or die from Covid-19.
Lastly, although occasional, heart attacks are known to be another cause of death in Covid-19 cases. Therefore, quitting smoking will result in benefits to the heart that could decrease the chance of cardiac arrest. Also, your blood will become thinner and less susceptible to clotting, which is known to be the contributing factors for heart attacks. Dr. Christman noted “that in some cases, clinicians were seeing patients with elevated levels of troponis - a sign of heart attack that can be triggered by a severe infection”
The most known and reported underlying conditions that risk many patients' lives are diabetes, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and immune compromised conditions. Cessation of smoking will positively contribute to your body which will possibly reduce the chance of you getting coronavirus or minimize the severity of the symptoms you will experience while fighting against it.
The public health authorities have said the peaks from Covid-19 have yet to start in many regions and project multiple waves of cases over the next 18 months. Now is the time to take care of your body more than any other time and to be aware of health risks associated with smoking and other unhealthy habits. A decision you make today will strengthen your body day by day on a short term level, which can and will contribute to your health in the long run.
Besides quitting smoking, ensure to follow daily routines to protect yourself from Covid-19 by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, practicing social distancing, and staying home.
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