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Biology 2nd Baccalaureate

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4.4. Healthy habits related to the respiratory system

What do I have to do to cure a common cold?

  • As colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics cannot do anything against them, so we should not take antibiotics.
  • We have to protect ourselves from the cold to prevent complications with other respiratory diseases.
  • We must drink water or juices to maintain hydration and eliminate mucous secretion.
  • In order not to infect other people, we have to cover our mouths with our hands when we sneeze and use tissues .
  • We have to wash our hands frequently and take hot baths.


It is in adolescence when people decide if they want to get hooked on tobacco. Some do it because their friends do it too, others because smoking is not done by children, etc., but it must be taken into account that:

  • The snuff contains many toxic substances which damage the respiratory system, which can even lead to cancer.
  • Tobacco contains addictive substances, such as nicotine, which create a dependency that is difficult to quit, making it very difficult to quit smoking.
  • Tobacco causes many diseases such as chronic bronchitispulmonary emphysema, and other diseases that we have seen, making it the leading cause of preventable death in Spain.
  • Smokers are at higher risk of having a heart attack.
  • Smokers are at higher risk for allergies and infections.
  • Women who smoke tend to advance their menopause.
  • Newborn children of smokers are usually born with less weight.

Componentes del tabaco con los efectos que produce cada uno de ellos

cigarrillo | R.J.Nieto Nieto Bernat | Flickr. (s. f.). Recuperado 10 de mayo de 2017, a partir de

Healthy habits related to the respiratory system

Many microorganisms can try to use the respiratory system as a way of entry into our body. To avoid these infections and for our respiratory system to function properly, it is necessary to adopt some healthy habits:

General preventive measures

  • We must always breathe in through the nose and not through the mouth, since the nasal mucosa will be able to heat, clean and moisten the air before it reaches the lungs.
  • We must avoid places with a lot of dust, pollen or high atmospheric pollution as they irritate the respiratory mucosa and can cause the appearance of respiratory diseases.
  • No smoking. Tobacco smoke contains many substances that are harmful to health. Inhalation of these substances prevents the normal functioning of the cilia of the cells of the trachea and bronchi, and can destroy them. Mucus laden with impurities cannot be expelled and causes coughing, expectoration, and infections, as well as increasing the probability of suffering from bronchitis and lung cancer. Remember that, even if you don't smoke, if you are a passive smoker you can also have respiratory problems.
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature, as the mucous membranes are irritated and the risk of respiratory infections increases, since it reduces the immune response capacity of the respiratory system.
  • Regular physical exercise increases lung ventilation and lung capacity. It favors the mobility of the mucus of the respiratory tract, in addition to reducing the respiratory rate and having beneficial effects on the circulatory system.
  • Ventilate the rooms daily, for at least 10 minutes, to renew the air and clean it of harmful substances .

Carbon monoxide

The CO (carbon monoxide) is a colorless and odorless gas produced in incomplete combustion of coal, natural gas or gasoline.

Although oxygen has a high affinity for hemoglobin, so much that it binds to it to be transported, CO still binds to it more strongly. Therefore, if there is CO in the air, it binds to hemoglobin and prevents oxygen from reaching the cells, causing the death of the body.

That is why you have to be careful with the braziers, with the gas burners, or being in the garage with the car running, since it is common to see in the media how every winter people die for this reason. This type of death, in which the person has less and less oxygen and ends up dying, asleep, is known as "sweet death".   

It is common to find very recent news in which people who have died from carbon monoxide inhalation appear.


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