The official blog of the Lung Institute.
For people with lung disease, breathing is hard work, and they often feel short of breath. If you have a chronic lung disease, such as COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, then you know that avoiding flare-ups is important. With triggers everywhere, knowing what to avoid and what to do in case you do have symptom flare-ups are essential to living your life the way you want to live it. We understand how difficult it can be to remember what to do and what to avoid, so we’ve done some research to find the top 5 ways to reduce flare-up risks.
What is a lung disease flare-up?
Whether it’s caused from a trigger or an infection, a flare-up or exacerbation occurs when your breathing gets worse than usual. Typically, an exacerbation is acute or begins suddenly and causes your symptoms to worsen. If you experience an increase or change in your normal amount of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, mucus, change in the color of mucus, rapid breathing, fever, confusion, excessive sleepiness or swelling in your feet or ankles, call your doctor immediately.
5.) Take Steps to Avoid Germs
Avoiding a flare-up takes continued effort. Following the instructions of your doctor and your treatment plan will help. Here are some easy tips to help you avoid viruses and infections:
- Bring your own pen to use
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you
- Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with warm water and mild soap
- Stay away from crowds or people who have an infectious illness like the flu
4.) Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Even though people with lung disease sometimes have to avoid certain foods, such as dairy and cruciferous vegetables, there are plenty of healthy and delicious options. Enjoy lung-friendly foods such as spinach, carrots, green beans and dairy alternatives. Season your food with herbs and spices instead of salt.
Trying gentle exercises like yoga and Tai Chi can help you stay active, improve your lung function and teach you breathing techniques for relaxation. Remember that getting plenty of sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle, too.
3.) Avoid Triggers
Flare-ups can be caused by a variety of triggers, such as exposure to very cold and dry air, exposure to very hot and humid air, smoke and smog, indoor and outdoor allergens, increased stress and even fumes from chemical cleaners and perfumes.
2.) Keep Your Home Clean and Clear
Stay on top of the air quality in your home by keeping your house clear of as many allergens as possible. In addition to covering mattresses, box springs and pillows with dust mite-resistant covers, removing dust collecting décor is another way to reduce indoor allergens. You could also consider an air purifier.
1.) See Your Doctor Regularly
Your doctor knows you and your health the best, so he or she is important to see regularly even if you’re feeling well. Remember to stay up-to-date on your vaccinations such as the flu shot. When you begin to feel sick, call your doctor immediately. Routine visits to your physician as well as following your treatment plan can help you stay healthy and avoid exacerbations.
What else can you do to stay healthy?
Following these 5 ways to reduce flare-up risks as well as seeking alternative therapies, such as stem cell therapy, could help you improve your quality of life. The Lung Institute uses stem cells from the patient’s own body to help promote the healing of lung tissue. If you or a loved one has a chronic lung disease, contact us today by calling (800) 729-3065 to learn more and to see if you qualify for treatment.