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GPs in Lewisham are supporting Breathe Easy Week 2016

As long as it works, we all take breathing for granted.

But what can we do when breathing doesn't work as well as it should?

This year's Breathe Easy Week takes place between 13-19 June, and will focus on breathlessness and pneumonia, and the actions you can take to help yourself to better respiratory health.

Everyone feels out of breath at some time. You might get out of breath after heavy physical activity or exertion such as walking briskly upstairs or cycling fast. This is the sort of breathlessness you might expect and it helps to keep your heart and lungs fit.

The advice from healthcare professionals is that there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself to breathe more easily. Things you can do to help yourself include:

If you smoke, you can join a support group here to get help to quit.

Be more physically activeClick here to see what help is available to boost your physical activity – and help you lose weight and decrease your chances of getting heart and lung problems and even a lot of types of cancer.

Get an early flu jab. Influenza can cause further inflammation of the airways and lungs, and may trigger an asthma attack. It can also lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases. NHS vaccination against seasonal influenza starts in early autumn, and this is free for people who are most at risk.

Try some breathing techniques. Visit the British Lung Foundation website to learn various techniques to help you control your breathing. These can also help with anxiety related breathlessness.

Dr Marc Rowland, Chair of NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), advises: "If you are breathless doing everyday activities, taking longer to do things, coughing up more sputum or some blood even if you are just avoiding doing things because you get out of breath, it's time to go to see your doctor."

"Breathe Easy Week 2016 is about helping those people who find it unexpectedly difficult or uncomfortable to breathe – breathlessness that they don't feel able to control."

Breathe Easy Week is organised by the British Lung Foundation. There are more than 230 Breathe Easy support groups throughout the UK that provide support from people who know what it's like to suffer from breathlessness or a serious lung condition. To find out how they can help you live with breathlessness and pneumonia, visit the British Lung Foundation 
To find out more about Breathe Easy Week, visit the British Lung Foundation