We’ve all been waiting patiently for March! At long last, the days are getting longer and now we can begin to feel the promise of springtime in the air. For an individual with COPD, there is even more reason to celebrate the changing of the season. Dry, cold air is one of several COPD triggers, and the arrival of warmer temperatures is, quite literally, a breath of fresh air.
What Are the Various COPD Triggers to Watch For?
If a person you love struggles with the challenges of COPD, you’re probably familiar with the tiredness, shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing that become part of everyday life. Dealing with these issues in order to have the best possible quality of life is crucial, and it starts with knowing how to manage COPD triggers.
Besides cold conditions, to follow are some other triggers that may aggravate COPD symptoms and ways to overcome them.
- Heat and humidity. These can be equally as challenging for an individual with COPD to manage as the cold, dry air. A person with COPD should remain inside the house with air conditioning through the dog days of summer.
- Air pollution. You might automatically think of car exhaust fumes and smog when you think of air pollution, but this includes other irritants as well, such as pollen, dust, pet dander, chemicals in cleaning products or paint, perfume, and mold. An air purifier can be helpful, and the home should also be regularly dusted and vacuumed. Someone other than the individual with COPD should take care of these duties, however, like a caregiver from Absolute Companion Care.
- Viruses. Something as harmless as the common cold can be quite hazardous for a person managing COPD. The most effective ways 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 a person with COPD, it’s extremely crucial to quit or never pick up this habit. It’s also equally important to avoid secondhand smoke. In the event that a person with COPD cannot give up cigarettes, see the doctor for helpful suggestions.
How to Manage COPD Triggers and Symptoms
While avoiding these triggers is an excellent starting place to ensure a loved one with COPD can breathe as comfortably as possible, there are also multiple breathing exercises that can be helpful, such as:
- Pursed lip breathing. This simple exercise can help with relaxation, reducing shortness of breath, and making it easier to breathe. With the mouth closed, breathe in through the nose two counts. 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 every day.
- Deep breathing. Deep breathing helps alleviate shortness of breath by keeping air from becoming trapped in the lungs. Sit or stand with the elbows slightly back and chest expanded. Take a deep breath 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 abdomen and diaphragm by sitting or lying down and relaxing the shoulders. Place one hand on the abdomen and the other on the chest. Inhale through the nose for two counts. Concentrate on moving the stomach more than the chest. Purse the lips and breathe out slowly while pressing lightly on the abdomen. Repeat as able.
To get more COPD tips or to learn more about how our trained and experienced in-home caregivers can help make life better for somebody you love, get in touch with us any time at 410-357-9640.