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Pollution and COPD: Tips to Cope

If you have a respiratory illness like COPD, you have to be more mindful of the air that you breathe. And these days, air quality can be hit or miss. Air pollution is a serious issue, and depending on where you live, can be something that prevents you from going outside at all. Everyone is different, but most people find themselves to be sensitive to air pollutants, and these things can exacerbate COPD symptoms. Some of the most common pollution sources include:

  • Outdoor: smog/ozone, car exhaust (nitrogen dioxide), soot/coal particulate, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, wood ash, other small toxic particle pollution
  • Indoor: cigarette/cigar smoke, carbon monoxide, artificial fragrances and air fresheners, radon, off-gassing from furniture and/or building materials, toxic cleaning or household products

In order to best manage your COPD symptoms, it’s critical that you do your best to avoid air pollutants both inside and outside of your home. Make small changes to your own home lifestyle, to eliminate toxins, and also invest in quality air filters. As for the outdoor pollution, you don’t have much control over that, but you can protect yourself in a few ways:

  • Wear a filtered mask when going outdoors
  • Avoid doing a lot of travel or physical activity on “red air days” or ozone advisory days in your area
  • Avoid standing near idling vehicles
  • Step away from the gas pump while filling up
  • Go outside during early mornings or later in the evenings, when pollutants are lower
  • Always have your portable oxygen concentrator with you

Want to learn more about how to manage your COPD symptoms, or how to choose the right oxygen for your needs? Reach out to us at Portable Oxygen Solutions today!

Taking Care of Your Mental Health Is Important for Those With COPD

Living with any kind of medical condition can be stressful, but especially when that condition is disabling, and requires routine treatment. For those living with COPD and other pulmonary disorders, it can feel frustrating and isolating at times, and many experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. While it’s important to continue following your doctor’s orders for things like supplemental oxygen, diet, and exercise, it’s also a good idea to take extra care of your mental and emotional health.

So what are some tips that you can use, to prioritize your mental well-being? Here are some to keep in mind:

1. Talk to someone

Thankfully, the stigma around seeing a counselor or therapist is slowly fading, because this kind of behavioral and talk therapy can be very beneficial. Find a provider that is familiar with chronic diseases like COPD, if possible.

2. Find your joy

No matter how you’re feeling physically, try to make time each day to do something that you love. Watch a funny video, play with your pets, make music or art, or socialize with a good friend.

3. Get outside

The healing and uplifting power of nature is always at your fingertips, so make time to go outside, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes. Breathe in the fresh air, sit in the sunshine, or do something active like gardening or hiking.

Resist the urge to ignore your blue moods or anxious thoughts, and be proactive about your mental health. This will help you feel better overall, and have an improved quality of life. Want to learn more about living with COPD? Reach out to us and speak with one of our representatives today!

Summer Travel Tips for Those with COPD

The season of vacations and reunions is upon us, and thousands of people will be traveling in the next few months. If you have COPD or another pulmonary disorder, there’s no reason why you should stay home and let everyone else have the fun. With the right attitude and preparation, you can enjoy traveling and spending time with your loved ones this summer. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, as you get ready for your upcoming seasonal trips:

1. Get the right oxygen concentrator

When you’re equipped with a light, portable oxygen concentrator that you can count on, travel is so much easier. Look for one that is user-friendly and travel-ready with ergonomic straps, multiple flow settings, and a small unit. Also, don’t forget to pack extra oxygen tanks, so you can have the support you need, wherever you go.

2. Plan for some down time

Instead of packing your travel itinerary with nonstop activity, make sure you leave time every day for rest. Getting adequate downtime, where you can relax and recover, is essential for anyone with an illness like COPD.

3. Avoid the heat

Much of the country experiences high heat and humidity throughout the summer, so just be mindful of the climate and weather forecast for your destination. Pack cool, breathable clothing and a sun hat, and plan to be indoors during the hottest part of the day, if possible.

When you can anticipate your travel needs, you can enjoy your vacation even more. If you need help finding the right portable oxygen concentrator for your COPD, reach out to us today!

Getting Good Sleep With COPD

We all know that sleep is important for our health, but for anyone living with a chronic disease like COPD, this nightly rest becomes critical. Solid, refreshing sleep can boost the immune system, improve cognitive function, and help us feel our best. However, some illnesses, especially those that affect the airways, can make sleeping difficult. There are many things that may interfere with your ability to get good sleep every night, including:

  • Uncomfortable sleeping positions
  • Certain medications
  • Sleep apnea
  • Acid reflux
  • Anxiety and depression

Solving the puzzle of poor sleep often requires the help of a trained medical professional, so don’t forget to talk with your doctor about ways to improve your rest quality. In the meantime, here are a few things to consider trying:

1. Oxygen therapy

The right amount of oxygen, delivered straight to your airways via mask or nasal cannula, can help the brain relax.

2. Sleep medications

If they will not interfere with your current medications, certain sleep drugs may assist you in getting deep rest.

3. Bedroom detox

Remove allergens, dust, and chemicals that may irritate the airways from your sleeping area. Add a HEPA filter too, if you are especially sensitive.

4. Relaxation techniques

When your body and brain just won’t quiet down, try things like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to get in a restful state of mind.

Want more tips on how to manage your COPD, or choose the right oxygen concentrator for you? Reach out and speak with one of our representatives today.

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!


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