November 19, 2018 at 9:02 am #15338Charlene MarshallKeymaster
Before my diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in early 2016, I have to admit that I was very oblivious to the importance of caring for your respiratory health. This is likely because most people without a lung condition take breathing for granted in general, plus I was a healthy, vibrant and very active twenty eight year old: why would I be on the look out for signs of a possible lung disease?
Since my life drastically changed in April 2016, which is when I was diagnosed with IPF, I’ve become very aware of just how fragile the lungs are and why it is so important to be proactive in protecting them. I had no idea that persistent bouts of pneumonia could cause IPF, nor did I know the physiological damage that can occur from inhaling toxic fumes, even indirectly. When I saw people wearing a mask in public, I used to assume they were contagious as opposed to thinking about it from the perspective of maybe wanting to protect their lungs or immune system from crowds of unhealthy people. I can now empathize with those people and have come to appreciate the importance of wearing a mask to protect your lungs, and in particular, to protect mine from any further damage.
I choose to wear a mask to protect my lungs from some of the more common things someone might think of as risky to our respiratory health. Those things include: wearing a mask around people who are sick with some type of respiratory virus or bacterial infection. I also am very proactive in putting on my mask if I am in an area where I know people will be smoking, or when I am exposed to cold air for long periods of time. However, I am curious to hear from other patients about the following scenarios:
- Spending time at the hair salon and potentially inhaling the chemicals or strong scents from the hair dye.
- Indirectly breathing in the fumes while filling your vehicle with gas.
- Keeping pet dandruff to a minimum to ensure it isn’t inhaled, including a cat’s litter box.
- Dust: whether it is in your home, vehicle or environmental things like pollen or poor air quality.
In any of these specific situations, as a patient living with IPF/PF: do you take precautions to proactively protect your lungs from possible exposure?
Have you been told about any other potentially dangerous inhalations that could pose a risk to your respiratory health?
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