July 22, 2020
Those diagnosed with COPD have had to remain especially vigilant since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as they are likely at both an increased risk for contracting the virus along with developing more severe complications. A newly released research study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that COPD patients were more apt to be admitted to the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease.
Even though the CDC gives tips for all of us, including those diagnosed with COPD, in order to prevent contracting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home as much as possible, one recommendation is particularly a struggle for an individual with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association recommends that those with COPD try an assortment of various kinds of coverings to find one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the house for brief periods of time to become more familiar with the sensation.
Further recommendations include:
- Continue to manage your COPD as advised according to the doctor, with adjustments to limit your exposure to other people, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
- Boost your immune system with a healthy and balanced diet and plenty of rest, and be sure to follow the doctor’s recommended plan for treatment.
- Take care of your emotional health to reduce stress and anxiety. Turn off the social media and the news and take part in relaxing and rewarding activities instead. And make certain to seek advice from a mental health professional when needed for help with managing stress and preventing depression.
Of particular importance for everyone with COPD is the significance 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, due to the fact that COPD causes shortness of breath, physical activity is especially challenging. He, and the Respiratory Health Association, suggest (with physician approval):
- Strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day, at least three times weekly.
- Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, making use of canned goods or small weights.
- Go up and down stairs.
- Include deep breathing exercises.
These resources provide additional useful information specific to COPD matters during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The American Lung Association
- The Respiratory Health Association
- The COPD Foundation
- Living with COPD
Contact Continuum, providers of senior home care in the St. Louis area, for expert in-home care for people diagnosed with COPD or other chronic conditions. Our staff are professionally trained and knowledgeable in providing personalized care to help make life safer and more enjoyable. You can reach us any time at (314) 863-9912.