The Holiday Season Will Be a Lot Different This Year

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Marc My Words: Happy Virtual Holidays
A Letter from the President and CEO
We enjoy winter celebrations at the Breathe SoCal office. Each year at this time, we would normally put up decorations, plan our staff holiday party, organize a “secret Santa” gift exchange, and provide seasonal lung-health education. But this year, things are clearly different. COVID-19 numbers are rising, and the fear is that they will overwhelm the capacity in our hospitals. Cities and counties are issuing new stay at home orders, and staffers are all working from their homes. So we’re not able to celebrate the holidays the way we usually do. Many of us participated in our first-ever Zoom Thanksgiving and we are now gearing up for Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa to become virtual celebrations as well.
It may be tempting to invite your friends and family over for just one meal this holiday season, but we cannot afford to take these kinds of risks. As a lung health organization, we are dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of people with respiratory conditions. Those living with COPD, asthma, lung cancer, or any other lung condition, have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill or even dying if they get COVID-19. Whether the people you would normally share your holiday meal with have a lung disease or any other underlying medical condition, we urge you not to place their health, and their lives, at risk. Even if they never become sick, they can still unknowingly transmit the disease to others since many people who get COVID-19 have no symptoms.
Let this holiday season be about health and innovation! I challenge you to come up with new ways to entertain and engage your family and friends. Try writing old fashioned holiday cards to the people you love, host a virtual family get-together, or plan a walk through your neighborhood to delight in your neighbors' holiday decorations. If protecting my community and my loved ones from COVID-19 means celebrating over Zoom, it is not too large a sacrifice. We must do all we can to keep our friends and family safe by preventing the spread of COVID-19. It may not be easy or comfortable, but let’s hope by doing our part, we’ll all be able to celebrate together next year.
Check out our website, and follow us on social media @BreatheSoCal to hear about this month’s holiday webinars. And follow me on Twitter @mcarrel to get the latest on lung health and clean air news!
I wish you a very safe and happy holiday season, and a wonderful 2021.
Marc Carrel 
President & CEO 
Surviving the Winter Season with a Lung Disease
If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease, it's best to prevent the underlying condition from becoming worse, thereby avoiding an office visit or hospitalization during the holidays. 
Get Vaccinated – With the weather getting colder, that means flu season is upon us. Protect yourself by getting your annual flu shot and a pneumonia vaccination, which prevents pneumococcal pneumonia. 
Stay Warm – With the cold weather, it also means entering and exiting buildings has you exposed to significant temperature changes. Prevent hypothermia by dressing in layers. This allows you to remove heavy clothing once indoors to prevent overheating.
Try to Get Fresh Air – When going outside, try to wear a hat or other head covering to prevent heat loss. Always wear a mask to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. It is good to get outside if the weather is accommodating even if you can’t socialize with others. Indoor air can be dirtier than outdoor air if there is no circulation inside your home. So if you can’t get outside very often, open windows and/or use an air purifier to clean the air inside.
Avoid Smoke – Not only is it wildfire season in Southern California, but winter and the holidays make people nostalgic for a warm fire in their fireplace. Wood smoke is extremely damaging to lungs. The U.S. EPA estimates the lifetime cancer risk from wood smoke may be 12 times greater than from a similar amount of cigarette smoke. So avoid being near fireplaces, bonfires, or even barbecues where you could inhale the toxic smoke. And if wildfires do cause poor air quality, stay indoors.
Inhaler Use – If your metered-dose inhaler has been exposed to the cold, remove the canister from its plastic housing and rub it between your palms. This warms all the ingredients and allows for an optimal dose when triggered.
Plan Ahead! – if your medicine is running low, order more with plenty of time to spare.  

Earn a free $25 Safeway gift card for your holiday grocery shopping!
Our partner, Clean Power Alliance, has a Power Response Program that allows customers with smart thermostats or battery energy storage systems to receive financial incentives for modifying their energy equipment use during times of peak energy demand.
If you show us proof that you enrolled in the program and downloaded the corresponding app, Breathe SoCal will give you a $25 Safeway gift card to use for your holiday grocery shopping!
Thinking of purchasing an Electric Vehicle for the Holidays?
An electric vehicle (EV) is any vehicle that can drive on electricity from a wall plug or charging station. 
All electric vehicle: Only uses electricity from a wall plug or charging station. It cannot be fueled with gasoline. Over its lifetime, an electric vehicle tends to need less maintenance and ends up saving a lot of money on fueling costs.
Plug-in hybrid vehicle: Can use electricity from a wall plug or charging station and can also be fueled with gasoline. Generally, these vehicles have smaller batteries, slower charging speeds, and cannot use a fast charger, but have great total range by using both fuels.
There are a lot of benefits to owning an electric vehicle:

---- 💵 -- Affordable

---- 💯 -- Better Performance
---- 🔧 Less Maintenance

---- 🏭 -- Less Pollution

---- -- Cheaper than Fueling with Gas
Vehicles release about 1.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year, contributing to global climate change. In 2019, California was home to 15 of the 30 areas in the nation with the worst air quality. Make a difference – reduce air pollution and shrink your carbon footprint by choosing to drive electric.

Join Breathe SoCal at one of our upcoming virtual Ride and Drive Events to learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles and the rebates available to purchase one in Southern California! We’ll post the dates for our next events on our social media feeds. So follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @breathesocal.
Spread Some Holiday Spirit in Southern California!
The holidays are a time when we reflect on the things for which we are grateful.
At Breathe SoCal we are committed to providing families and children with tools and resources to help them overcome the challenges they face when they have difficulty breathing. 
This holiday season, we have more people seeking assistance with asthma education than ever before, but our resources are limited. We are dependent on the generosity of donors to provide much-needed services to people across the region. Even a small donation can make a big difference.
We’re thankful for every gift we receive. If you’re feeling the holiday spirit, please help us share this cheer with others in need.