Now's the time to quit smoking: It could increase your odds of beating Covid-19

(CNN) If you've been thinking about quitting smoking, there's no time like the present pandemic.

With the novel coronavirus sweeping the globe, the science on quitting smoking offers welcome news for smokers who want to build up their defenses in case they contract Covid-19.

Though it may still take many months for a smoker's lungs to heal from damage caused by long-term smoking, your health can noticeably improve in the days and weeks after quitting in ways that could make a difference against the virus.

Although you can't reverse scarring to your lungs caused by smoking, there are a number of ways your lung health can improve in the short term, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Time to strengthen your lungs

"Every lung doctor in America will be preaching that everyone should quit smoking." Dr. Brian Christman, a volunteer spokesman with the American Lung Association and a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, told CNN.

While this message isn't new, it's more relevant than ever.

Covid-19 creates an added sense of urgency, and there's ample reason to believe that quitting smoking during the pandemic could increases your odds of fighting off the virus.

If you make the decision to quit, the cilia in your lungs are one of the first parts of your body to heal. These hair-like projections wave back and forth like a brush as air moves in and out of your lungs.

They help your body fight off colds and infection, the CDC says. They also help clear mucus, so if they're not functioning as well as they should, mucus can build up in the lungs.

Your body's inclination to cough during an infection helps activate the bodily process of clearing out mucus, called the mucociliary escalator. That's vital in fighting the Covid-19 condition.

The elderly are at a greater risk for excessive lung fluid that often limits breathing following coronavirus infection because "old folks don't have a strong enough cough to clear it up," Christman said.

For smokers, "at baseline you're set up for chronic bronchitis," Christman said. "With Covid, it gets worse."




And even if you're not living in an area where there are numerous coronavirus cases, your decision to quit smoking might pay off down the road. That's because public health authorities have projected multiple waves of cases over the next 18 months could be possible.

"It's an investment in the future," he said. "Covid might circulate in the Southern Hemisphere and then come back. Someone quitting now might really help themselves in the second wave."

"Using hypnosis for smoking cessation helps knock out the cravings and focuses on tools to help you manage and master your emotions."

ANNIE ALEXANDER, NORTHWEST HYPNOSIS CENTER

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Important:

If you suspect that you have a health issue, contact your primary care physician immediately.  Always consult your doctor before starting any new wellness initiative.

© 2020 by Annie Alexander 

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