WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: What happens during a hiccup?

giphy

Have you ever wondered what happens when you have the hiccups?

The American Lung Association, HEADLINE: Inconvenient hiccups, published March 17, 2016

Your diaphragm is an important muscle. It helps with your breathing by expanding and contracting your chest and that movement draws air into your lungs.

And, as our friends at the American Lung Association points out, we don’t really think about how awesome the diaphragm really is when you’re having a bad case of the hiccups.

A hiccup happens when the diaphragm spasms — it snaps your vocal cords causing that squeaky hiccup sound.

Check out the post from the American Lung Association’s blog to learn more about hiccups.

In the meantime, check out how challenging it is for this young seven-year-old who is trying to battle through a bad case of the hiccups while singing Australia’s national anthem. It took our breath away watching this.

For sale: bags of fresh air in China to fight pollution problem

The Mirror, HEADLINE: Bags of fresh air on sale in China to combat pollution problem, published March 26, 2016. 

hazy-day-in-beijing-1536906-640x480Remember that hairy-nose-filled PSA we shared on this blog, which was about reminding people in China to take action against air pollution because “it changes you.”

It seems air pollution in China has already changed some business opportunities for those vendors who cater to tourists looking to escape their smog-filled cities.

Vendors are selling bags of air at touristy hiking locations in China’s mountain parks. The bags of mountain air can then be taken home to enjoy or to be used straight away.

Small bags for sale for $1.88 CDN each and large bags for  sale for $5.63 CDN sometimes come with flower pedals to make the air “more pleasant” in the bag.

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Fighting air pollution in China

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 8.39.57 AM.png

Change air pollution before it changes you: PSA from China

 

Air pollution in China has been dangerous in recent weeks.

All 366 cities in China — including Beijing — failed to meet World Health Organization air quality standards in 2015. The survey also shows that more than 90 per cent of residents in China are concerned about air pollution.

Obviously, air pollution in China is unavoidable, but in order to get people to take action against air pollution, WildAid‘s GOBlue campaign created an interesting PSA that speculates what residents might do to cope with the dirty air.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 8.39.40 AMFrom its press release, “‘Hairy Nose’ is an eye-catching and thought-provoking concept that projects the issue of air pollution into the distant future. In this world, nose hair has evolved to filter pollution and has led to activities, fashion and culture centered on the now prominent facial features. In the face of this, one man refuses to accept the pollution and shaves his nose hair in defiance. The message for current urban residents is clear: Change air pollution before it changes you.”

A very important message in China, especially since lung cancer deaths have risen by 465 per cent over the last 30 years.

What is it like living in Beijing?

CBC News: A Montrealer experiences Beijing’s notorious air pollution: Published March 3, 2016

hazy-day-in-beijing-1536906-640x480CBC News caught up with a former Montreal resident who now lives in Beijing. He shared about what life is like in a city that has once reached 423 in Beijing’s air quality index — a scale that is out of 500.

Elvis Anber says on days when it is really bad, he can’t see anything outside his apartment window. Residents in China also check out the air quality as much as they check out the weather reports, he says.

He also raises a very interesting point.

“To let in that fresh air, that’s something we take for granted in Canada,” Anber said to CBC News.

“Maybe when it’s about 100 or below, you can open up the window to let in some fresh air. You really shouldn’t be out when the pollution is this high, especially over prolonged periods of time.”

Pack a mask after an apocalypse to help you breathe: American Lung Association

American Lung Association: Forget the Post-Apocalyptic Setting Killing You – What About the Dust? Published Feb. 24, 2016

blog_madmax_h

© 2015 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

Mad Max: Fury Road cleaned up the 88th Academy Awards last Sunday night by winning the most Oscars with six.

And before movie director George Miller walked on the red carpet that night, our friends at The American Lung Association asked is why those who create post-apocoliptic stories and movies don’t consider risks to lung health.

“Naturally with any scenario like post end-of-the-world, we assume natural resources such as water and gas will be scarce and probably rationed out by a power hungry warlord,” it wrote in this interesting post in its blog.

“What many people probably don’t consider are the risks to lung health. After all, humans need to breathe to survive.”

This is a must read for all lung health fans! And if the world ends, make sure you pack a mask to help you fight through sandstorms.

—JC—

 

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: From cat videos to air quality

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 2.33.06 PM

Editor’s note: This is a new feature we hope our supporters — and fans of lung health — will enjoy on a weekly basis. “What We’re Reading This Week” will post on PoweredByBreathing.com on Fridays to give our supporters and fans of The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT an idea of the lung health-related news stories, clips, videos, and editorial posts that we are reading, watching, and listening to every week.

We hope you enjoy it. If you see an article that you came across related to lung health, please share it with us by emailing communicationsab@ab.lung.ca. 

Is it time we re-think how we keep warm?

“The quest for cleaner fire: Why it’s time to rethink our favourite way to get warm.”: Globe and Mail, Published Feb. 17, 2016

Forest PitThe Globe and Mail’s Sarah MacWhirter studies how cities across Canada are tackling air pollution, including Montreal where it will soon have some of the toughest regulations against wood burning.

Residents in Montreal will soon be required “to register their wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, and, as of Oct. 1, 2018, will have to replace what they have now with equipment that meets the tough new EPA standard of only 2.5 grams of particulate released into the atmosphere each hour,” writes MacWhirter.

Air pollution kills 5.5 million a year: VICE

“Air Pollution Kills 5.5 Million People A Year — Over Half Of Them in China, India”: VICE News, Published Feb. 16, 2016

forbidden-pollution-1245100-639x426Staggering stuff.

According to VICE News, air pollution has caused more than 5.5 million premature deaths in 2013, and that number is expected to rise — particularly in India and China.

In two of the world’s fastest growing economies, air pollution has killed 1.6 million people in China and 1.4 million in India, writes VICE News’ Jake Bleiberg.

The World Health Organization has already estimated that 80 per cent of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths were due to ischaemic heart disease and strokes, while 14 per cent of deaths were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or acute lower respiratory infections; and six per cent of deaths were due to lung cancer.

The purrrrr-fect message against smoking?


During the Grammy Awards Monday night, the Truth Initiative aired an amazing ad in the United States to engage young people to “be the generation that ends smoking.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 2.33.26 PM.pngIt was definitely the cat’s meow as the video — which has more than 2 million views on YouTube — cites that those poor kitties will get cancer if their owners smoke.

According to the ad that is full of cat-itude, smoking equals no cats, which means no cat videos. 😦

It’s a great message and our media specialist at The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT has already watched it a dozen times. Perhaps it’s like catnip.

-JC-

Seven small ways to improve the air Albertans breathe every day

cleanair

Alberta forest-firefighting crews have already tackled hundreds of wildfires that have burned across northcentral and northern areas of the province since early sping.

With more heat and dry conditions in the forecast in the next few weeks, more wildfires can be expected. The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT urges all Albertans — and residents in the Northwest Territories — to keep a close watch on local air quality reports, as well as following these seven small steps to keep your lungs healthy during the season.

  1. Check your local Air Quality Health Index to plan your outdoor activity. Visit: airquality.alberta.ca or dial 1-877-247-7333.

  2. In case of poor air quality follow the health messages corresponding the AQHI reading. Exercise indoors when the outdoor air quality is low.

  3. Use public transit or carpool on bad air day.

  4. Do not idle your vehicle while waiting for someone.

  5. Do not use gas or diesel powered mowers, leaf blowers or gardening equipment.

  6. Consider planting trees around your home during the summer

  7. If you are suffering from known lung problem keep your medication nearby and always have the symptoms under control, because bad air day may trigger your symptoms.

-Blog post authored by Sufi Hassan, Program Specialist for Environment and Health at The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT-

A blast from the past at The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT

 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (“TLA”).

Over the next few weeks you will see vintage PSAs posted — like the video posted above — as a way to help us celebrate this milestone.

Help us celebrate by donating today. If you donate before Oct. 15, you have a chance to win one of three vacation packages that will take your breath away — pun intended.

Since 1939, TLA has been the primary information source for lung health. The organization continues to raise funds for critical research and patient support programs and advocates for changes in public policy.

Meanwhile, if you are in the Fort McMurray region from Sept. 19 to 21, visit our booth at the Fort McMurray Fall Fair and Trade Show.

Clean Air Strategic Alliance celebrates 20 years in Alberta

The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (TLA) isn’t the only Alberta-based organization celebrating a milestone in 2014.

The Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA) is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Alberta and TLA was a founding member.

CASA is an alliance made up of stakeholders from industry, non-government organizations, government officials and other environmental interest groups.

Sitting at the table with the policy-makers, ensures that the health of Albertans is looked after through strategies that make a difference.

TLA is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

For more information about CASE, check out the alliance’s website!

Celebrate clean air every day in Alberta and the Northwest Territories

The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT (TLA) celebrated Clean Air Day on June 4.

However, TLA is encouraging residents across Alberta and the Northwest Territories to celebrate clean air every day by making simple steps to improve air quality in their neighbourhoods.

“Air quality is important because it impacts the health of humans, animals and the environment,” said TLA Program Specialist for Environment and Health Amy Elefson.

“A lot of people don’t realize that their actions can affect air quality.”

As a way to encourage businesses and households to improve air quality in their communities, here are a few suggestions from the Canadian Lung Association:

  1. Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transit.

  2. Reduce your heating needs by making your house more energy efficient. Find out about government programs that test your home’s energy-efficiency and give grants to help pay for the cost of improving your home’s energy efficiency.

  3. Don’t burn wood or trash. Instead of burning debris, start a compost pile in your backyard for organic materials.

  4. Use hand-powered garden tools. Avoid using gasoline or diesel-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf-blowers.

  5. Avoid using potentially harmful products labeled with hazard symbols indicating poisonous, flammable, or corrosive materials. Use non-toxic alternatives or make your own if possible.

  6. Know before you go. If you need to drive, plan the most fuel efficient route using free online tool such as Google maps, taking notice of areas of construction and high traffic. Avoiding these areas can help prevent needless idling.

  7. Check your tire pressure. Properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency. Each 5% of under-inflation translates into a 1% decrease in fuel efficiency.

  8. Avoid idling. Turn off your car’s engine while waiting for someone and try to avoid drive-through lines.

  9. Garden without pesticides. There are many healthy and safe alternatives to harmful cosmetic pesticides.

  10. Get involved. Support national and local efforts to clean up the air. Contact your provincial lung association and find out what is happening in your area and how to get involved.

To learn more about air quality, visit TLA’s “clean air” webpage!

Let us know what you do to improve air quality in your community! Tweet us at @LungABNWT using the hashtag #PoweredByBreathing.