Happy Fall! As the weather begins to get colder, breathing can become more difficult. The dry air you are exposed to in the winter can cause flare-ups, also called exacerbations, if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of flare-ups and take on the colder months this fall.
Limit your time outdoors.
Being outside in cold and harsh wind can increase your chance of catching a cold, and colds are even worse when you are suffering from COPD.
Practice nasal breathing.
When air travels through the nose, it has time to warm up and humidify before moving to the lungs. Mouth breathing does not have this warming effect, and it results in cold, dry air entering your lungs. To make breathing through your nose easier, be sure to regularly moisturize your nostrils with spray or gel, which is available over the counter at any drug store.
Keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Dr. Bohdan Pichurk, a Pulmonary physician at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, recommends keeping your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. A humidifier set at 45 to 50 percent can help reduce your nasal dryness. Adding moisture into the air helps the colder air you breathe not be so dry.
Cover your face with a scarf or blanket when you are exposed to cold, dry air.
This will help warm the air as it enters your body. If you are on oxygen, keeping your portable oxygen concentrator under your coat or warm clothing will help the cannula warm up, allowing the air that enters your body to be warmer and less harsh.
Be mindful of fires.
The fumes from indoor fireplaces or outdoor fires can further irritate your lungs, causing your symptoms to worsen.
Be sure to follow your prescribed medications as directed.
Doctors may alter your medications with extreme weather changes. Taking your medications when you’re supposed to will help your symptoms from worsening.
These small and mindful tips will help you conquer the cold weather this season. Belluscura wishes you a happy and healthy fall!