Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be challenging, particularly because it’s a progressive condition that gets worse over time. The good news, though,is that there are several effective strategies you can implement at home to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
In this blog, Drs. Ines Munoz De Laborde and Svetlana Burkhead at Physicians Medical Urgent Care in San Jose, California, share four home-based strategies for coping with COPD.
1. Maintain a clean and healthy indoor environment
One of the most critical aspects of managing COPD is ensuring that your indoor environment is free from irritants and pollutants that can exacerbate symptoms. Here are some steps to achieve a cleaner, healthier home:
Ensure you have adequate ventilation
Proper ventilation can help reduce indoor air pollution. Use exhaust fans and open windows to allow fresh air to circulate.
Use air purifiers
Use air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters to remove allergens and pollutants from the air. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), HEPA filters can remove 99.97% of allergens and pollutants. This includes dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria. These filters can trap the smallest particles, including ones as small as 0.3 microns.
Create a smoke-free environment
Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Not only does it increase your risk of developing it, but it can also exacerbate your symptoms.
Avoid tobacco smoke, and if you smoke, seek support to quit. The state of California offers free cessation programs through Kick It California, and the Physicians Medical Urgent Care team is more than happy to help you get started on your journey to quitting.
It’s not just you though. Make sure your entire home is smoke-free to reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke. Ensure that no one (including guests) smokes in your home.
Dust and allergens can accumulate in your home. Regular cleaning, including vacuuming and dusting, can help maintain a cleaner environment.
2. Utilize breathing techniques and relaxation techniques
Learn specific breathing techniques and relaxation exercises to help you manage your COPD symptoms more effectively. Techniques like diaphragmatic breathing and pursed-lip breathing can improve lung function and reduce shortness of breath. The American Lung Association created videos to demonstrate the breathing techniques, like belly breathing, so you can easily follow along.
Relaxation exercises such as meditation or deep breathing can help alleviate anxiety and stress 一 both of which are often associated with COPD.
3. Stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle
Physical activity is vital for managing COPD. Regular exercise can:
- Improve your lung function
- Enhance endurance
- Strengthen the respiratory muscles
- Improve self-esteem
- Reduce feelings of anxiety
- Increased muscle tone
- Improve your body’s use of oxygen
Work with Dr. Munoz De Laborde or Dr. Burkhead to develop a safe and effective exercise plan. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, focus on a balanced diet and proper hydration.
4. Create an emergency action plan
Create an emergency action plan in place in case your COPD symptoms worsen. Work with Dr. Munoz De Laborde or Dr. Burkhead to develop a plan that outlines steps to take in case of exacerbations, including medication adjustments and when to seek medical assistance. Share this plan with a trusted family member or friend who can assist you during emergencies.
Get help for managing COPD today
COPD is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management and care. These home-based strategies can significantly improve your daily life and enhance your ability to manage COPD effectively, but home-based care is just part of your management plan.
Physicians Medical Urgent Care now proudly offers primary care, and as part of our mission to deliver quality care to those in San Jose, we can develop a comprehensive COPD management plan that incorporates both home-based and medical interventions.
Visit our walk-in urgent care, or call 408-207-4637 to make an appointment.