Lighting up accounts for as many as 90% of COPD-related deaths, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.Quitting smoking “is the most important thing COPD patients can do” to improve their condition and prognosis, says David Au, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Washington.“When COPD patients quit smoking, lung function improves a little,” he says. “If they continue to smoke, they double the rate of lung loss.”
Everything from perfume to cigarette smoke to toxic industrial chemicals can irritate the lungs of COPD patient.There isn’t a blanket recommendation about what to avoid,” Dr. Au says. “We tailor it to the individual.” However, COPD patients generally should:
- Avoid secondhand smoke, fumes and strong odors.
- Steer clear of common allergens like pollens and dust.
- Remain indoors when it’s smoggy outside.
- Make your house mold-free. Mop up damp spots in bathrooms and kitchens to prevent spores from growing.
3. Engage in exercise
As hard as it is to imagine exercising, respiratory disease doctors strongly recommended it.“Even in severe stages of COPD, it can be effective,” Martin says.That’s because exercise makes the lungs and heart work harder to carry oxygen to the body, and the right workouts can strengthen chest muscles and improve breathing
To avoid infections:
- Skip that family dinner if your cousin has a cold or other respiratory infection. “As important as it is to socialize, you must think about yourself first,” Martin says. “That means staying away from those who are sneezing and coughing.”
- Wash hands frequently.
- Use anti-bacterial wipes and lotions often.
- In a doctor’s office or anywhere you use a shared pen to sign credit card receipts or other slips, use your own pen, not the public ones.