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Spring Allergies and COPD

Springtime is a wonderful time of the year, with the flowers beginning to bloom, and the weather turning warmer. However, as the leaves unfurl and the grass turns green, seasonal allergies can crop up, potentially exacerbating COPD symptoms. COPD already comes with difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, but when you add on allergy symptoms, it can get pretty miserable!

Allergies are typically not serious, but more of a nuisance. However, if you are already living with a pulmonary condition like COPD, it’s worth taking extra precautions during allergy season. Here are a few tips to help you manage:

1. Avoid allergens when possible

If you tend to have trouble breathing on windy spring days, try to avoid going outside during those times. You may also have to avoid parks and other nature areas during the height of the bloom. Pay attention to your local pollen alerts, and use your best judgement.

2. Filter your indoor air

When outdoor allergens are high, they tend to make their way inside too. Make sure you have a HEPA filtration system for your indoor air, and/or have portable air filters in the rooms you spend the most time in.

3. Use OTC medication

For those who suffer significantly during allergy season, it may be worth trying OTC allergy meds like Zyrtec, Benadryl, nasal steroids, or inhalers. Talk to your doctor about options that are safe for your COPD.

Want more tips on managing COPD symptoms in allergy season? Reach out to one of our friendly technicians today!



COPD and Relationships: Tips for Success

Living with any kind of chronic illness can put stress on your relationships, and too many people tend to withdraw from their friends, partners, and other loved ones after a diagnosis. However, even if you have a condition such as COPD, it doesn’t automatically mean that all of your relationships are doomed. You can make choices that will help all of your connections, both romantic and platonic, grow in a positive way.

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy relationships, while managing your COPD:

1. Advocate for yourself

Only you can truly understand your body and your limits, so don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Don’t overcommit or overextend yourself, but instead be honest with people about where you can go and how much you can handle. This open communication will be helpful for you and them!

2. Schedule time together

For those with chronic illness, calendars can be hard to coordinate. Between rest time, medical appointments, errands, and other activities, it’s easy to forget about quality time with our loved ones. Set specific times to meet with your friends, or have a date night with your partner.

3. Embrace all of you

We all want truly authentic, supportive relationships, and this requires a certain amount of vulnerability. Don’t be afraid to talk about your COPD or things you’re struggling with, but also focus on your unique gifts and capabilities too. Be yourself, and be present, and your loved ones will thank you.

Want to learn more about how to manage life with COPD? Reach out to speak with one of our friendly technicians today!



3 Tips to Make Your Home Healthier

It’s been estimated that the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors. And for those living with a chronic illness, like COPD, that number may be even higher. So how can we make our indoor environments as healthy as possible? There are hundreds of different toxins and dangers that could be present in your home, so it’s worth making some changes, to reduce your toxic exposure, and help yourself feel as good as possible with COPD.

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Ditch the artificial fragrances

In one fragrance, there can be up to 1,000 different chemicals! And when you think about all the things you use that have artificial fragrance in them, that adds up. Look at your body products, cleaning products, air fresheners, and scented candles, and find healthier options that are either unscented or use pure essential oils for scent.

2. Use an air filter

Indoor air can be filled with all sorts of unpleasant things like mold, bacteria, viruses, dust, pollen, and other allergens. Thankfully, there are good air filters available for both in-home ventilation systems and portable filtration units. Look for the HEPA seal, or a certification, for those with COPD.

3. Open the windows

Sometimes, the air outside is fresher than the air inside, so don’t be afraid to ventilate your home whenever you can. This is an especially good idea when you’re cleaning, cooking, exercising, or doing any kind of painting or craft project.

Want to learn more about COPD, and how to help yourself feel better? Get in touch with one of our friendly technicians today!



New Year’s Resolutions for Those Living With COPD

Around the turn of each year, many people start getting inspired about the healthy changes they’re going to make. These New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to tune into your body and find ways to make yourself feel better, even with COPD. Living with a chronic illness like COPD isn’t easy, but if you are looking for resolutions that will help you live your best this year, here are a few great ideas:

1. Drink more fresh water

Most people are chronically dehydrated, but this can make COPD symptoms significantly worse. This year, make a commitment to drink 8 full glasses of fresh water every day. Bring a reusable bottle with you wherever you go, so you’ll never be without your H2O!

2. Fine-tune your oxygen

Sometimes, those with COPD don’t think too much about their oxygen, or their portable oxygen concentrator, but this year, take a more proactive approach to your oxygen needs. Check with your healthcare providers to find the optimal oxygen flow rate for you, and consider upgrading your concentrator to a lighter, more ergonomic model.

3. Move your body

Everyone can benefit from exercise or other physical activities, but those with COPD especially! Moving around in a way that you enjoy is great for boosting circulation, improving tissue oxygenation, and may help with weight loss too. Try walking, gardening, swim aerobics, or another fun activity.

There are a lot of ways to feel better this year, and these tips are just the beginning. Want to learn more about your oxygen needs, or how to improve your life with COPD? Get in touch with us today!



COPD and the Holidays: Tips to Stay Healthy

For anyone living with COPD, the holidays can be particularly stressful. Balancing travel, social plans, and the abundance of unhealthy food can be daunting when you’re dealing with a health challenge. However, there are ways that you can enjoy this festive season without making yourself feel worse. Here are a few tips for making the holidays as enjoyable as possible:

1. Boost your self-care

When there is a lot going on around you, it’s important to set aside a bit more time for TLC. Give yourself space to unwind and de-stress. Try meditation or mindful breathing. Get an extra hour of sleep. Pamper yourself with a bubble bath or massage. Whatever makes you feel rested and grounded again!

2. Learn to say “no”

Sometimes, we feel the pressure to participate in every single holiday activity, or accept every social invitation. However, this can lead to burnout and a possible flare-up in COPD symptoms. It’s okay to say “no” sometimes, and keep your holiday schedule light and manageable.

3. Enjoy in moderation

It’s alright to indulge in the special treats of the season, but try to limit yourself to a small amount. When consumed in large quantities, things like gluten, sugar, and dairy can trigger headaches, stomach upset, and breathing problems in those with COPD. Fill up on things like fruits and veggies, watch your alcohol intake, and space out the sweets.

The holidays can be such a fun time of year, especially when you’re feeling good. Keep these tips in mind this season, so you can make the most out of it! And if you need more tips for living well with COPD, or need to understand your oxygen options, get in touch with one of our friendly representatives!



3 Common COPD Triggers

Whether you have been newly diagnosed with COPD, or you’ve been living with it for a while, it’s important to understand what kinds of things make your symptoms worse. Certain substances and environments can irritate your airways, leading to increased coughing, wheezing, fatigue, and shortness of breath. When you want to feel as well as you possibly can feel with COPD, here are a few triggers that you should avoid:

1. Cigarette smoke

One of the most irritating things to sensitive lungs is cigarette smoke. If you currently smoke, take steps to get help, so you can quit. Avoid public areas that allow smoking, and if you can’t escape it entirely, make sure to go outside often and/or bring extra oxygen with you.

2. Chemical fumes

Many conventional cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that can make your COPD worse. Look for natural cleaning, household, and body products, and stay away from synthetic fragrances and aerosols, as well as scented candles and incense.

3. Allergens

There are a lot of things floating in the air that can exacerbate your symptoms, including pet dander, mold, pollen, and dust. Try to keep your home as clean as possible and consider wearing a face mask while doing things like dusting and vacuuming. Also, install a HEPA filter if you can.

Other common COPD triggers include: car exhaust, industrial pollution, strong perfumes, and extreme temperatures. When you know ahead of time what to avoid, you can lead a healthier life with COPD. Want to learn more about how to manage your COPD symptoms? Reach out to speak with one of our oxygen specialists today!



Autumn COPD Tips

As the seasons change, your COPD symptoms may become more difficult to manage. Especially during the transition into fall, the cool winds and abundance of allergens can exacerbate your illness. However, you don’t need to suffer, if you plan ahead and increase your self-care during this time of year. Here are some tips for living well with COPD during the autumn:

1. Drink more warm fluids

Hydration is important for those living with COPD, but especially during the cool, dry days of fall. Reach for warm drinks that don’t have alcohol or caffeine (these are dehydrating), like herbal tea, spiced cider, or dairy-free hot cocoa.

2. Cover your mouth

The blustery fall weather can trigger coughing and wheezing, especially when the air is much colder outside than inside. Consider bringing a scarf with you, to cover your mouth when outdoors. This will warm and filter the air, making it easier to breathe.

3. Prevent illness

As cold and flu season arrives, it’s important to take precautions to avoid illness, as these respiratory bugs can make your COPD quite serious. Practice good hand washing, get plenty of sleep, and keep herbal remedies like elderberry syrup, ginger tea, and Echinacea on hand.

4. Clean your indoor air

When cool weather comes, you spend more time indoors, so it’s a good idea to make your indoor air quality as healthy as possible. Change out your central heating filter and your free-standing HEPA filters, if you have them. Also, dust and vacuum on a more regular basis.

If you need more tips on how to stay well with COPD during the autumn, reach out to one of our friendly specialists today!



COPD 101: An Overview of the Two Main Types

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is extremely common here in the United States, affecting an estimated 5% of the population. If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with this disease, you may be wondering more about how it works, and how to take care of yourself. Here is a basic overview of COPD and some tips to stay as healthy as possible!

COPD is an umbrella term for a disorder that obstructs the airways or limits the flow of oxygen. People with COPD generally have trouble breathing and experience shortness of breath. Many will require supplemental oxygen in order to have a good quality of life. There are two main types of COPD, which are:

1. Emphysema

This common type of COPD occurs when the air sacs in the lungs become damaged, causing enlargement, and potential bursting of these sacs. This prevents the release of air from the lungs, resulting in an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the body, and may present with shortness of breath, wheezing, and fatigue.

2. Chronic bronchitis

The second type of COPD occurs when the bronchial tubes become inflamed and irritated, resulting in a mucosal buildup in the area. This obstructs the flow of air, and may cause chronic coughing, sputtering, chest tightness, and fatigue.

There are many ways to manage COPD, including:

  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Healthy eating
  • Proper hydration
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoiding environmental triggers like pollution, allergens, and extreme heat/cold

Want to learn more about COPD and how to deal with your symptoms? Reach out to one of our friendly oxygen specialists today! Call us toll free at 1-800-958-0192



Staying Cool is Important When You Have COPD

In the late summer, heat and humidity can be stifling, and this can put a strain on your health when you live with a condition like COPD. Your body already has to work hard to get enough oxygen to your tissues, but when it’s especially hot out, you are more at risk for a flare-up in your symptoms. It’s important that you are extra mindful of staying cool and healthy during the summer, and here are a few tips to keep in mind, so you can enjoy the warmth without feeling worse:

1. Drink lots of cool water

Hydration is especially important for people with COPD, but especially in the summertime. Water helps to thin the fluids in your lungs, helps maintain a stable blood pressure, and assists with whole-body cooling and detoxification. Make sure to keep a full bottle of water with you at all times.

2. Eat light meals

Summer is not the time to indulge in heavy, dense, or hot foods. Instead, try to make your meals light and fresh, with an abundance of vegetables and fruits. Snack throughout the day on things like carrots, raw nuts, lettuce cups, apples, and other cool, crisp produce.

3. Go outside at the right times

Being outdoors can be beneficial for your health, but only if you do it wisely. Pay attention to your local air quality reports and weather forecasts, and try to save your outdoor time for when it’s cool and/or less polluted.

Want to learn more about how to manage your COPD in the summertime? Reach out to us today and talk to one of our friendly representatives!



How to Choose the Right Portable Oxygen Concentrator for You

If you live with COPD, having reliable oxygen is important for maintaining your quality of life. However, there are so many different types of portable oxygen concentrators on the market today, it can be hard to choose the one that is best for your needs. As this technology continues to advance, newer features and more comfortable options appear, and you want to make the most of them!

When you are in the market for a portable oxygen concentrator, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Your COPD type

Everyone with COPD is an individual, and depending on the severity and type of your COPD, you may need a unit with higher or lower oxygen settings. Talk to your healthcare provider about how much oxygen you need each day, and look for a unit with the right liters-per-minute (LPM) feature.

2. Your activity level

For those who are very active, a smaller, more lightweight unit is best, so take into consideration how much activity and exercise you get. If you want to go out with your friends, travel with ease, and go for regular walks, make convenience a priority when choosing your concentrator.

3. Your location

Depending on the climate you live in, you may need more or less oxygen, and it’s important to compensate for these environmental factors when buying a unit. At high altitude with dry air, you will need more oxygen than you would at a humid, sea level location.

When you are ready to find the best portable oxygen concentrator for you, get in touch with one of our friendly representatives today! Call us toll free at 1-800-958-0192



 

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