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How does the respiratory system work to clean the air?

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The respiratory system has built-in methods to prevent harmful substances in the air from entering the lungs. Hairs in your nose help filter out large particles. Microscopic hairs, called cilia, are found along your air passages and move in a sweeping motion to keep the air passages clean. But if harmful substances, such as cigarette smoke, are inhaled, the cilia stop functioning properly, causing health problems like bronchitis. Mucus produced by cells in the trachea and bronchial tubes keeps air passages moist and aids in stopping dust, bacteria and viruses, allergy-causing substances, and other substances from entering the lungs. Impurities that do reach the deeper parts of the lungs can often be moved up via mucous and coughed out or swallowed.

SOURCES:

TeensHealth: "Lungs and Respiratory System."

American Lung Association: "Learn About Your Respiratory System."

American Medical Association: "Respiratory System: Basic Function."

Reviewed by William Blahd on July 14, 2017

SOURCES:

TeensHealth: "Lungs and Respiratory System."

American Lung Association: "Learn About Your Respiratory System."

American Medical Association: "Respiratory System: Basic Function."

Reviewed by William Blahd on July 14, 2017

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