Protect Your Lungs this Winter

Patients living with respiratory conditions have joined forces with the NHS to launch a campaign encouraging people with lung and breathing problems to stay well this winter.

Building on the success of the ‘Love Your Lungs This Summer’ campaign, ‘Protect Your Lungs This Winter’ features a number of interviews with patients living with respiratory issues such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD). Talking to camera, they describe the practical approaches and preventative measures they will be taking during the colder months this year, to reduce the risk of serious illness in the hope of helping others.

Top tips to Protect Your Lungs this winter:

  • Avoid crowded places
  • Avoid anyone unwell
  • Avoid enclosed spaces

Social media channels and other advertising platforms will be used to share the campaign’s content, using the hashtag #ProtectYourLungs.

The significance of the campaign, which also features clips from NHS clinicians and an introduction from Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, is imperative as we head towards a winter that has the potential for co-circulation of flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

The NHS continues to roll out the flu jab and COVID-19 booster to help give people the best possible protection ahead of the winter, encouraging those at greatest risk to come forward to protect themselves and those around them.

This year, the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine are being offered to everyone aged 50 and over, people with certain health conditions that put them at risk, carers and pregnant women.

Dr Richard Russell, clinical lead for the South East Respiratory Network, organisers of the campaign, said: “If you have a respiratory condition, protecting your lungs and staying well this winter has never been more important.

“I would encourage people with lung and breathing problems to have a look at our patient’s top tips which can help reduce their risk of exacerbating their respiratory conditions and avoid transmittable respiratory infections.

He added: “A big thank you to all those who have worked behind the scenes on this campaign.”

A respiratory patient who features as part of the campaign, said: “In terms of my respiratory condition, I’m always more cautious in winter.

“A cold for me is not just a cold – actually, it’s quite risky. I try not to restrict myself going out and about, but I do take measures to protect myself, avoiding crowded places or enclosed places with lots of people.

“I think in the winter, it’s even more important that you stay away from coughs and colds. My children never come to see me if they’ve got a cold or a cough because they know I’ll pick it up too easily.”

Respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in England after cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Lung cancer, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the biggest causes of death. Emphysema and Bronchitis are the most common conditions.

About 10,000 people in the UK are newly diagnosed with a lung disease every week. Somebody dies from lung disease in the UK every 5 minutes.