Know what is causing your COPD flare-ups and what you can do to avoid them occurring
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a lung disease that is caused by obstruction in the airways of the lungs. This leads to difficulty breathing and may go on to manifest itself into other conditions, such as emphysema and bronchitis. It is important to catch COPD in its early stages as early prevention can put the symptoms under control.
People with COPD experience difficulty breathing, wheezing and chronic coughs. A person with COPD may also find themselves getting tired a lot more frequently, as not enough oxygen is getting to the body resulting in fatigue. It is also common for a person with COPD to be more susceptible to colds and infections. At later stages, the sufferer might have weight problems and be obese from lack of exercise. Headaches are also more regular and a physical sign is the skin underneath the fingernails turning blue from lack of oxygen.
People with COPD can experience flare-ups that are made worse by certain factors and environmental changes. The following are the main causes of COPD flare-ups:
Extremes in weather have been known to cause COPD flare-ups. If the weather is either too hot or too cold, it can cause COPD symptoms to worsen. Cold, hot or dry hair are also known to exacerbate conditions that cause COPD. Typically, below freezing temperatures, or hot weather above 90 degrees Fahrenheit will cause a COPD flare-up. During cold weather it’s important to cover the face and nostrils with a scarf or a mask. Air humidity should be kept at 40 percent by using a humidifier. In hot weather there is not much that one can do except stay indoors and keep the air-conditioning on.
Bad air quality is another trigger that can cause a COPD attack. COPD is an illness that mainly involves improper airflow to the lungs, therefore, if the air itself is filled with contaminants it is likely for a flare-up to occur due to irritation in the lungs. Pollen, dust, and smog can all be the cause of COPD reactions. Staying indoors does not necessarily mean that COPD can be avoided because there are plenty of contaminants that can be present indoors as well. Fumes from chemical cleaning products and paint can be the cause of a COPD reaction, as well as indoor dust and pollen.
Outdoors, people can avoid risk of COPD symptoms by wearing a painters’ mask. Physical exercise that will cause heavy breathing should also be avoided as much as possible. There are certain times of the day where smog levels are also high. During these times it’s best to stay indoors. Generally, smog levels are highest during the afternoon and in the months of May and September.
Indoors, an air purifier will greatly help in ridding the air of most contaminants. Aside from this it is important to regularly dust and vacuum as well. Cleaning should ideally be done by someone that does not have COPD, as the resultant dust that is released in the air while cleaning can also cause a flare-up.
Discover top tips for a healthy body and mind with our weekly wellbeing newsletter.
Join our mailing list today.