Most diseases are closed within your body, so to speak, so there are treatments you can receive and healthy lifestyle changes you can make, but what you do day-to-day and where you go won’t have much effect on the course of things. COPD is different, because it’s a disease of the lungs, and the lungs are directly connected to the outside environment. In addition to adopting healthy living habits and following the treatment plan that your doctor advises, you can help yourself by being cognizant of the atmosphere around you and making conscious choices to reduce exposure to anything that could make your COPD worse or cause a flare-up.
If you smoke or you’re around people who smoke, that’s the first thing to correct. Smoke, whether first-hand or second-hand, can make your COPD worse. Get it out of your life if you can.
Think of dust and fumes, too. If your workplace is dusty or involves a process that produces fumes, see that you’re protected as much as possible.
Air pollution is less easy to control, but you can certainly become active in or support organizations that work to clean up the air. Meanwhile, pay attention to air quality reports and avoid outdoor activities on days when the smog or particulate counts are high.
Airborne viruses are another source of problems, as they can cause or worsen lung problems. Wash your hands often, avoid crowds when colds and flu are going around, and make sure family members and friends are not sick or coming down with something when you plan to visit.
Finally, if you’ve been one of those people who has resisted getting flu vaccinations, it’s a good idea to change your ways and start getting vaccinated annually. Ask your doctor whether you’re up to date with your pneumonia vaccination – many doctors suggest getting vaccinated every 5 years. Ask your family and friends who you see often to follow vaccination recommendations as well…for your sake.