COPD advice

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Posted on Wednesday 27th March 2013

Cumbrians with lung conditions reminded how to stay healthy this winter

From this week Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group is sending letters and leaflets to the homes of people with the lung conditions collectively known as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to help them stay healthy this winter.

Wednesday, November 14 is national COPD awareness day, which traditionally coincides with the start of the winter weather which can cause an increase in illness and symptoms for people with respiratory problems.

The letter and leaflet aim to give people with COPD tips on how to manage their condition over winter to help avoid them getting ill and possibly ending up seriously ill and in hospital as a result.

There are approximately 11,000 people across Cumbria who are diagnosed with COPD and many more who may not have received a diagnosis.

COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic asthma. Breathlessness, a cough and excess phlegm are just some of the symptoms of lung conditions which can get worse in winter and leave people vulnerable to serious chest infections, complications from flu such as pneumonia and potential hospital admission.

In winter the cold air may cause a person’s airways to become narrower. This can make breathing even more difficult than normal for someone with COPD alongside the risk of catching infections and viruses such as flu which circulate at this time of year.

Tips include:

  • Medicine - people are advised to make sure they have enough prescription medication should their symptoms get worse
  • Keep the house warm - It’s recommended that the main rooms in a house are kept at 21°C and 18°C for a bedroom. Cold rooms can make breathing more difficult.
  • Have a flu jab - People with COPD are at risk if the develop flu of getting seriously ill and therefore qualify for a free flu jab. People with COPD should contact their GP surgery to arrange to have their vaccination.
  • Keep important medication close -Anyone with COPD who has to take a reliever should take it 20 minutes before going outside.
  • Stop smoking - Smoking is bad for everyone's health, but people with COPD must stop smoking as this is the most important thing they can do to help their breathing. Anyone wishing to quit smoking can get free and confidential support from NHS services. For help with quitting, contact your GP, a local pharmacy or Cumbria Stop Smoking Service on 01900 324222 for free confidential help and advice.
  • Eat well - A healthy diet helps improve the immune system so it can fight infection.
  • Keep active/do gentle exercises - Exercise improves the function of the heart and lungs. Pulmonary rehabilitation classes can help people with COPD learn simple exercises to improve their breathing.
Posted on Wednesday 27th March 2013

 

 
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