(HealthDay News) -- The lungs are delicate organs that are sensitive to environmental factors such as germs and tobacco smoke, the American Lung Association says.

Here are the ALA's suggestions to help prevent a respiratory infection and keep the lungs working properly:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer if you don't have access to soap and water.
  • Stay away from crowds during cold and flu season.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily, and get a dental checkup every six months to help keep germs in the mouth from causing infections.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year.
  • Stay home and away from family members when you're sick.