A Guide For Those Living with COPD: Avoiding Troublemakers

AVOIDING THE TROUBLEMAKERS

What are the troublemakers?

  • Air Pollution
  • Weather
  • Infections

 Why air pollution?

  • Dirt and fumes are constantly added to the air we breathe.
  • Cigarette smoke is a dangerous indoor pollutant.
  • Some dirt stays in your lungs, where it builds up and can cause infections and lung damage.
  • In polluted air, some gases such as carbon monoxide, can rob your blood of oxygen, making you feel worse on days when air pollution is heavy.

 What to do about air pollution?

  • Avoid places with very dirty air such as traffic jams, parking garages, and smoke-filled rooms.
  • Avoid breathing in smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.  Ask smokers to respect your need for clean air.
  • Avoid using strong chemicals and aerosol sprays.
  • Check the news for air pollution alerts. If it’s a heavy day, stay indoors with closed windows, relax, avoid stirring up dusk, and call your Heart ‘n Home Nurse if your condition worsens or you feel the need to change the amount of medication you’re taking.

 Why the weather?

  • Weather extremes are not good.
  • Cold air puts extra strain on your lungs and hot, humid air flares up symptoms.

What to do about the weather?

  • During cold weather, cover your nose and mouth with a cold-weather mask (available at drug stores), a scarf, or at least your hand. Breathe in through your nose to warm the air.
  • During hot, humid weather stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment and limit your activities.

 Why infections?

  • Infections in your lungs are dangerous troublemakers. They can quickly make you seriously ill. Infections are a major reason that people with lung disease enter hospitals.

What to do to prevent infections?

  • Get your flu shot yearly.
  • Keep your body happy with a variety of healthy foods.
  • Get plenty of rest so that your body is strong enough to fight off the germs that cause infections.
  • Keep your lungs as clear of mucus as you can. Drink lots of fluids (infections grow easily in mucus).
  • Avoid crowds and people with colds if possible.

And for related reading, see our next post 12 Tips for Living With COPD.

 

Free Guide to Frequently Asked Questions About Hospice

 

 

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