Love your Lungs – It’s never been more relevant
By: Philippa Harrington, On: 22 June 2020
The annual UK Breathe Easy Week – renamed ‘Love Your Lungs Week’ for 2020 – is more poignant and important than ever before.
The very act of drawing in oxygen to maintain life has become a massive global issue. First with the ravages of the COVID-19 virus. Then with the ‘I can’t breathe’ slogan of the USA civil rights movement that hit the headlines worldwide.
Love your Lungs Week falls between the 22nd and 28th June this year. It highlights the simple act that so many people take for granted. However, for those suffering various debilitating conditions – especially serious respiratory disease or severe disabilities – every day is a battle to breathe. Resulting in so many tragic COVID-19 deaths.
This annual event is spearhead by the British Lung Foundation. As well as drawing attention to the issue, they want people in the UK to understand what they can do to protect lung health.
What is the British Lung Foundation?
This UK charity primarily works to keep the nation’s lungs healthy. This includes funding research into clean air and treatments for relevant conditions, as well as highlighting measures to prevent lung damage. In the last year, it raised £1.8m in research investment.
The Foundation also provides information and practical assistance to anyone with lung disease. This includes a helpline and local support groups. It works alongside the NHS to address causes and treatments for respiratory conditions.
Difficulties in breathing
Love Your Lungs Week is primarily about the issue of lung disease, which can include asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, often grouped together under the name COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
This sort of medical condition is a widespread issue in the UK. As many as 12.7 million people have some form of lasting respiratory condition including asthma. That’s the equivalent of one in five of the British population.
Cystic fibrosis and cerebral palsy are two of the main childhood illnesses that can result in a lifelong battle to breathe easily.
Sometimes, problems with lungs can be temporary in nature and treatable, such as pneumonia and some forms of cancer.
Even coronavirus strains can result in a full recovery. However, sadly COVID-19 proved to be a horrific reminder of the terrible toll viruses can have on human lungs. At the time of going to print, almost 40,000 British people had tragically lost their lives to this pandemic.
There are also some disabilities which can impact on a person’s ability to breathe easily too, especially paralysis resulting from traumatic injuries.
Getting involved in Love Your Lungs Week 2020
With so much focus on this topic, the activities and information stimulated by this annual campaign are likely to receive a lot of attention.
As Love Your Lungs Week falls so close to Lockdown, the thrust of the campaign will show how and why you need to take action using self-managed techniques.
The event was already geared towards the need for testing – encouraging people to seek out help if they show key symptoms of respiratory illness. The campaign features an easy to understand online test to show if you need to take action on this important matter.
It will also show how breathlessness can be treated, but also the repercussions of failing to seek help.
If you or a family member or friend have a lung-related health condition, you may be reassured that Love your Lungs Week will also be about sharing information and tackling some of the stigmas and misunderstandings involved.
The campaign organisers are hoping people will share its awareness-raising resources, such as posters and social media posts. The more people who understand lung conditions, the better!
They also hope some of the information they disseminate will get people talking. Being able to openly discuss issues relating to breathing can make sufferers feel less isolated or misunderstood and can also give people the confidence to progress to a diagnosis and treatment.
Love Your Lungs Week will also feature real case studies of people living with serious respiratory diseases. If you would like to share your experiences, there are various contact methods listed on the British Lung Foundations ‘Get in Touch’ page.
Lungs and Coronavirus
The British Lung Foundation is clearly still deeply involved in dealing with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This organisation is highly active in disseminating coronavirus health information for those people who already have lung conditions. It is also helping the general population to be aware of both the symptoms of the virus and the actions to take.
The Foundation is no doubt also exploring the lasting damage COVID-19 has on some people’s lungs and ways to help them alongside people with other more established respiratory illnesses.