Those diagnosed with COPD have had to be particularly watchful since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as they are likely at a more significant risk for contracting the virus along with developing more severe complications as a result. A newly released research study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that COPD patients were more likely to be admitted to the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus than those without the disease.
Although the CDC gives tips for all of us, including those diagnosed with COPD, to prevent getting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home whenever you can, one recommendation is especially a struggle for an individual with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association advises that those with COPD try a number of various kinds of coverings to discover one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the home for short amounts of time in order to become more used to the feeling.
Further recommendations for living with COPD include:
- Continue to manage your COPD as advised by the doctor, with adjustments to limit your contact with others; for example, telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
- Boost your immune system with a healthy and balanced diet and lots of sleep. Be certain to follow the physician’s recommended treatment guidelines.
- Take care of your emotional health to minimize stress and anxiety. Take a break from social media and the news and participate in pleasant and rewarding activities instead. And be sure to consult with a mental health professional as needed for assistance with managing stress and combating depression.
Of particular significance for those with COPD is the importance of regular physical exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, because COPD causes shortness of breath, exercising is particularly challenging. He, as well as the Respiratory Health Association, suggest doing the following with doctor’s approval:
- Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least three times every week.
- Try leg lifts, marching in position, and arm circles, utilizing canned goods or small weights.
- Go up and down stairs
- Include yoga breathing exercises.
The following resources provide more helpful suggestions specific to COPD challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The American Lung Association
- The Respiratory Health Association
- The COPD Foundation
- Living with COPD
For knowledgeable in-home care for individuals living with COPD as well as other chronic conditions, get in touch with Relevar Home Care. Our staff are professionally trained and experienced in providing individualized care at home to make life safer and more enjoyable. You may reach us at (888) 493-3513 to learn more about home care assistance in Birmingham, MI and the surrounding communities.