One of the major symptom triggers for those with COPD is air pollution. Unfortunately, there is very little we can do to control the air quality in the area that we live or travel to. Large cities, construction zones, and agricultural areas are some of the worst offenders to our lungs, putting out large amounts of toxins like ash and soot, pesticides, diesel fuel, VOCs, and other contaminants. However, even if you live in the quiet suburbs, you still need to be careful of the air you breathe.
COPD can be exacerbated by air pollution, and for some sensitive individuals, may even cause serious episodes that could require emergency medical care. If you live in a heavily polluted area, or construction has been started in your neighborhood, it’s time to be proactive about your health. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Utilize face masks on poor air quality days, or whenever you are outside
- Talk to your doctor about starting or increasing your use of inhalers, steroids, or bronchodilators
- Use a good quality HEPA air filter in your home
- Try to exercise indoors when pollution is particularly bad
- Always keep your portable oxygen concentrator with you, especially when traveling through the city
Whether it’s cigarette smoke, car exhaust, farming chemicals, or another source of air pollution, it’s a good idea to be prepared for whatever you may encounter. Don’t stress too much over the things you cannot control (like outdoor air quality), but simply take steps to better protect yourself when you have COPD.
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