The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is difficult enough, but when the symptoms flare up—commonly referred to as COPD exacerbations—things can go from bad to worse pretty quickly.
The shallow, fast breathing. The coughing and wheezing. The discolored, increased mucus. It can all take its toll.
Not only can these higher-intensity symptoms make it harder to get through your day-to-day activities, they can also put you square in the hospital as doctors attempt to get your COPD under control. If the flare-up is bad enough, it could even result in death.
This makes finding a way to avoid these exacerbations super important to your health and your life. Fortunately, there are many options to consider. Here are six.
Option 1: Stay Away from Sick People
Research has found that the most common cause of COPD exacerbation is viral infection. To keep yourself as healthy as possible, it helps to keep your distance from anyone who may be sick with a cold or the flu.
If you have plans with someone who is ill, delay getting together until their sickness has passed. And if you work in public or regularly visit public places, like grocery stores or restaurants, do your best to stay away from anyone who is sneezing, coughing, or wheezing.
Take extra precautions during cold and flu season, as well, when these types of illnesses are often at their peak.
Option 2: Get Your Flu Shot
Another way to keep from getting sick is to get a flu shot every year. When is the best time to get yours?
According to the American Council on Science and Health, this question can be hard to answer because the flu season changes annually, as does the length of time immunity lasts from the vaccine. That being said, the general rule is sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Option 3: Wash Your Hands, Often
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that another way to keep from catching the latest bug is to wash your hands several times a day. This can help you get rid of any germs that you pick up via door handles or other commonly touched items, potentially saving you from a flare-up.
The CDC further recommends that, when washing your hands, you should aim to scrub them for a full 20 seconds. To help you achieve this length of time, sing your ABCs while washing. And if you don’t have access to soap and water, antibacterial hand sanitizer is the next best thing.
Option 4: Keep Your Hands Off Your Face
In addition to washing your hands, the CDC also suggests that you keep your hands away from your face in between washes. This prevents any germs that do exist from making their way into your eyes, nose, or mouth—three places where they can easily gain entry into your system.
This may be hard at first, particularly if you typically rest your face on your hands, rub your eyes, or bring your fingers to your lips when thinking. However, getting rid of these behaviors can help reduce your COPD flare-ups, which makes changing them well worth the effort.
Option 5: Keep Your Windows Closed
If you live in an area that has a lot of poor air quality days, another way to help reduce your flare-ups is to keep your windows closed on the days that are the worst. This helps limit the pollution that is able to get into your lungs, instigating an inflammatory response.
The same is true if you’re out and about in your automobile. Keep your windows rolled up so you don’t catch any of the emission-related pollution created by passing buses, trucks, and cars.
Option 6: Get Your Rest
The Sleep Foundation reports that “getting adequate sleep is essential to maintaining health in COPD patients.” So, the more rested you are, the easier it is for your body to stay as healthy as it can.
Some tips they offer to improve your rest include:
- Establishing a regular time to go to bed and wake up
- Creating a relaxing pre-bedtime routine
- Keeping your bedroom cool and dark
- Limiting naps too close to bedtime
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute offers a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us today at 888-745-6697 or fill out the form to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.
Interested in our article on avoiding COPD flare-ups? Share your thoughts and comments below.