Posted on: July 21, 2020
Those diagnosed with COPD have needed to remain especially vigilant since the COVID-19 pandemic started, as they are likely at both a much higher risk for contracting the virus as well as for developing more serious complications because of this. A current study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that people with COPD were more likely to be admitted to the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease.
And while the CDC provides suggestions for all of us, including those receiving COPD care, in order to prevent getting the illness, such as regular handwashing, social distancing, and staying home as much as possible, one recommendation is especially a challenge for someone with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association recommends that those with COPD try a variety of different types of coverings to discover one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the house for short amounts of time to become more familiar with the feeling.
Additional recommendations include:
- Continue to manage your COPD as advised by the physician, with modifications to limit your exposure to other people, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
- Boost the body’s defense system with a healthier eating plan and a lot of sleep, and make certain to follow the physician’s recommended treatment guidelines.
- Take good care of your emotional health to reduce stress and anxiety. Turn off social media and the news and engage in relaxing and gratifying activities instead. And be sure to consult with a mental health professional as necessary for assistance with managing stress and preventing 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, due to the fact that COPD causes shortness of breath, doing exercises is particularly challenging. He, along with the Respiratory Health Association, suggest (with doctor’s approval):
- Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least 3 times per week.
- Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, using canned goods or small weights.
- Go up and down stairs.
- Include yoga breathing exercises.
These resources offer more helpful suggestions targeted to COPD challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The American Lung Association
- The Respiratory Health Association
- The COPD Foundation
- Living with COPD
For a professional and experienced senior care advisor and geriatric care manager for people who have COPD or any other chronic conditions, call on Alivity Care Advocates. We’re here to help make life the very best it can be – both for those diagnosed with COPD, and those providing COPD care. You can easily reach us any time at (248) 375-9125. To see if our services are available in your area, please visit our Service Area page.