Local health leaders in the Black Country and west Birmingham are supporting Love Your Lungs Week (22-28 June) by raising awareness about lung health, which is especially important this year due the effect coronavirus (COVID-19) has on the lungs and the respiratory system.
Love Your Lungs Week is organised by the British Lung Foundation, and this yearâ€™s message is for people to â€˜Stay Connectedâ€™. Many people with moderate to severe lung conditions will have been shielding and staying at home more than usual, so staying connected with others is vital for overall wellbeing.
There are many types of lung conditions and these include asthma, COPD, pneumonia, lung cancer, sarcoidosis and many more. Statistics for the UK show that 10,000 people are diagnosed with lung disease every week, and that someone dies from lung disease every five minutes.
Coronavirus is also categorised as a lung condition because it is a disease that affects the lungs and airways.Â For most people, the symptoms are mild, but some will develop severe breathing difficulties and other complications.
Research into the effects ofÂ coronavirus on peopleâ€™s long-term health is ongoing, but the current evidence shows that people who have long-term lung conditions, have had a lung operation or transplant, or who are taking immunosuppressant medicine, may be at higher risk of severe coronavirus symptoms.
If you have a lung condition, itâ€™s essential to follow the current guidance to help keep safe and protected. Please visit the NHS or GOV.UK websites regularly to see the current guidance for those at high and moderate risk.
Jonathan Fellows, Independent Chair of the Black Country and West Birmingham STP, said: â€œWe are supporting Love Your Lungs Week by reminding people who have lung conditions to take extra care of themselves.
â€œLiving with a lung condition can beÂ hard, and coronavirus and lockdownÂ haveÂ made things even more difficult â€“ but there is support available. The NHS is still here for you and you are not alone. Get in touch with your GP or NHS111 if you are concerned about an existing lung condition or if you are worried about any new and persistent symptoms. Do not delay getting advice and help.â€
There are many online resources including British Lung Foundation website and mobile apps to help people with a lung condition to manage this from home.
Even if you donâ€™t have a lung condition, Love Your Lungs Week is an opportunity to reflect on your own lung health and think about how to protect it.
Bal Kaur, Director of Public Health, Dudley said, â€œOne of the best ways to improve and protect your lung health is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, take regular exercise and quit smoking. Smoking seriously damages the lungs; so if you do smoke, we encourage you to take steps to quitting.â€
The NHS Smokefree website is a great resource for those looking for support to quit smoking.Â Residents can also call the Letâ€™s Get Healthy Dudley team on 01384 732402 or visit: https://lets-get.com/healthy-lifestyles/stop-smoking/ for more information and access to local services.
Remember: The NHS is still here for you: for health concerns contact your GP practice, NHS 111 online or via phone, or if it is a life-threatening emergency â€“ 999.