We have waited all winter for March! At last, the days are getting longer and we can begin to feel the promise of springtime in the air. For a person with COPD, there is additional reason to celebrate the seasonal changes. Cold, dry air is one of several COPD triggers, and the arrival of warmer temperatures is, literally, a breath of fresh air.
What Are Other COPD Triggers to Look Out For?
If a friend or family member has difficulties with the challenges of COPD, you may be all too familiar with the fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing that become part of daily life. Managing these symptoms in order to have the best quality of life is crucial, and it begins with learning about the causes and implementing strategies for coping with COPD triggers.
In addition to cold weather, below are some triggers that can exacerbate COPD symptoms and tips for how to conquer them.
- Heat and humidity. These are often equally as problematic for somebody with COPD to deal with as the cold, dry air. A loved one with COPD should try to stay indoors with air conditioning during the dog days of summer.
- Polluted air. You may automatically think of smog and car exhaust fumes when you imagine air pollution, but this consists of various other irritants as well, including mold, pet dander, dust, pollen, paint, cleaning products, or perfume. An air purifier can be helpful, and the home should also be routinely vacuumed and dusted. Someone other than the individual with COPD should take care of these duties, however, like a caregiver from Inspired Home Care.
- Viruses. Something as innocuous as the common cold can be quite hazardous for a person living with COPD. The most effective ways to avoid infection include avoiding crowded areas, wearing a face mask, keeping the house clean, and washing hands frequently.
- Smoking. Smoking is something we should all stay away from, but for someone with COPD, it’s especially vital to quit or never pick up this habit. It’s also equally important to stay away from secondhand smoke. If the person with COPD is unable to giving up smoking, see the doctor for helpful suggestions.
What Are Some Methods for Coping with COPD Triggers and Easing Symptoms?
While staying away from these triggers is an excellent starting place to ensure someone with COPD can breathe as comfortably as possible, there are also several breathing exercises that may also be helpful, including:
- Pursed lip breathing. This simple exercise can help people with COPD relax, reduce shortness of breath, and make it easier to breathe. While the mouth is closed, breathe in through the nose two counts. Purse the lips, as though blowing out a candle or whistling, and breathe out slowly through the mouth to a count of four. Repeat four to five times each day.
- Deep breathing. Deep breathing helps ease shortness of breath by keeping air from becoming trapped in the lungs. Sit or stand 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 has been 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 stomach and the other on the chest. Breathe in through the nose for two counts. Concentrate on moving the stomach more than the chest. Purse the lips and breathe out 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 improve life for someone you love, contact us any time at 847-787-7572. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.