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As a teen, what is the function of cilia in the lungs?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Your airways are lined with millions of tiny hairs called cilia. These act like little brooms that sweep up to your mouth and nose all the stuff that’s caught in your mucus. They’re fast-action sweepers, like high-speed windshield wipers--constantly moving back and forth to clear your lungs of nasty stuff that makes its way in with every breath. Cigarette smoke kills cilia, destroying the very mechanism that’s meant to protect your lungs from toxins.

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

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YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.