We’ve waited all winter for March! At last, the days are growing longer and we can start to feel the promise of springtime all around us. For an individual with COPD, there’s extra reason to celebrate the seasonal changes. Dry, cold air is among a number of COPD triggers, and the arrival of warm weather is, literally, a breath of fresh air.
What Are Some Other Common Causes of COPD Flare-Ups to Watch For?
If a person you love has difficulties with the challenges of COPD, you’re probably all too familiar with the tiredness, difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing that become part of everyday life. Dealing with these symptoms in order to have the best possible quality of life is extremely important, and it begins with learning about the most common causes of COPD flare-ups.
Besides cold weather, below are some additional triggers that may exacerbate COPD symptoms and how to conquer them.
- Hot, humid weather. This is often equally as difficult for someone with COPD to deal with as the cold, dry air. A loved one with COPD should try to stay inside with air conditioning through the dog days of summer.
- Polluted air. You might automatically imagine smog and car exhaust fumes when you think about air pollution, but this includes a great many other irritants as well, including mold, pet dander, dust, pollen, paint, cleaning products, or perfume. An air purifier can be helpful, and the home also needs to be routinely vacuumed and dusted. Someone other than the person with COPD should manage these tasks, however, such as a caregiver from At-Home Care Company.
- Viruses. Something as harmless as the common cold can be hugely risky for a person managing COPD. The most effective techniques to avoid infection include washing hands frequently, avoiding crowded areas, wearing a face covering, and keeping the home sanitized.
- Smoking. Smoking is something everyone should avoid, but for an individual with COPD, it’s particularly imperative to quit or never pick up this habit. It’s also important to stay away from secondhand smoke. If the person with COPD is unable to give up cigarettes, see the doctor for helpful suggestions.
What Are Some Ways to Ease COPD Symptoms?
While eliminating these triggers is an excellent starting point to make sure someone with COPD can breathe as comfortably as possible, there are also several breathing exercises that can be helpful, including:
- Pursed lip breathing. This easy exercise can help people with COPD relax, reduce shortness of breath, and make it easier to breathe. With the mouth closed, breathe in through the nose to a count of two. Purse the lips, as though you are about to whistle or blow out a candle, and breathe out slowly through the mouth while counting to four. Repeat four to five times daily.
- Deep breathing. Deep breathing helps ease shortness of breath by preventing air from becoming trapped in the lungs. Stand or sit with the elbows slightly back and chest expanded. Breathe in deeply through the nose and hold for a count of five. Breathe out slowly and deeply through the nose until all air is released. Repeat three to four times daily.
- Diaphragmatic breathing. Strengthen the muscles of the diaphragm and abdomen by sitting or lying down with the shoulders relaxed. Position one hand on the abdomen and the other on the chest. Inhale through the nose for two seconds. Concentrate on moving the stomach more than the chest. Purse the lips and exhale slowly while pushing lightly on the stomach. Repeat as able.
To get more COPD tips or to discover how our trained and experienced in-home senior care professionals can help make life better for someone you love, call us today at 515-292-2650. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.