HOW TO LIVE
WHEN YOU’RE LIVING
with chronic obstructive pul-
monary disease (COPD), it’s important to remember
these two truths:
The disease doesn’t go away, even with treatment.
But you can learn to live better with COPD and slow
the damage to your lungs.
Here are some suggestions on how to take good care
If you smoke, commit to quit
. Even if you smoked for
many years, it’s never too late to quit. Stopping now is the
best way to help keep COPD from progressing at a faster
pace. Ask your doctor about medicines or products that
could help you.
See your doctor.
Regular checkups are especially im-
portant when you’re managing a chronic condition. Your
health care team can answer questions you have about
your condition and help you overcome any obstacles to
Take your medicines as prescribed.
They can help
you feel better—if you use them correctly. Again, talk to
your doctor if you have questions about your medicines
or experience bothersome side effects.
Get a yearly flu shot.
Catching the flu can be much
more serious when you have a lung disease. Find out from
your doctor if you need a pneumonia shot too.
COPD can make you feel tired. To help
conserve energy so you don’t get worn out:
Take your time with chores.
Put often-used items in easy-to-reach places, such as
a lower shelf.
Use a cart with wheels to move laundry around.
If your home has a second floor, have some items
moved to the first floor to cut down on climbing stairs.
Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to remove.
Ask family or friends for help.
Is it a cold or the flu? Sniffle, sneeze, cough. Something seasonal is bugging you. But what exactly is it that’s got you under the weather?
Those vile viruses that cause colds and the flu can cause remarkably similar symptoms. It can be hard to tell them apart based only on
how you’re feeling. One general clue is how bad your symptoms are—flu symptoms tend to be more severe. But that’s not the only difference.
Here are some more clues to help you uncover what’s causing your ills.
Don’t forget to see
your doctor each fall
for that all-important
your annual flu shot.
Cover your sneeze, please!
Sneezing is a common cold
symptom, although it can
sometimes accompany the
flu. A stuffy or runny nose
is also more common to a
The flu is more likely than
a cold to lead to complica-
tions such as pneumonia
and bronchitis. If you
think you have the flu, you
may want to check in with
your doctor. Prescription
flu drugs called antivirals
may shorten the time you
You’ve probably caught
the flu. Fevers occur only
rarely with a cold. Run-
ning a temp is common,
however, with the flu.
Temperatures often reach
100 to 102 degrees and
last three to four days.
Aches and pains
When everything hurts,
chalk it up to a likely case
of the flu. Headaches and
body aches abound when
the flu virus invades, and
those pains can be quite
severe. Acetaminophen or
ibuprofen can help provide
relief. Colds can be ac-
companied by aches and
pains, but they tend to be
If you’re dealing with
extreme fatigue, it’s often
a result of the flu. Exhaus-
tion is common with the
flu but rarely results from
a cold. Flu-induced fatigue
can affect you for an
extended time, sometimes
as long as two or three
Sources: American College of Emergency Physicians; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health
Feeling stressed can make it harder to
breathe. Find ways to relax—perhaps listening to music
or sitting quietly—that work for you. But tell your health
team if you feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed.
Talk with your doctor about lung rehab.
rehabilitation may improve your ability to do activities
without getting out of breath. Classes typically include
support, coping tips and exercise.
Know when to call your doctor.
Ask your health care
team what changes in your symptoms should prompt a
call to their office or to 911.
Sources: American College of Chest Physicians; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Our pulmonary rehab
program has helped many
people with COPD enjoy more
active lives. For details, go towww.shannonhealth.com
and click on “Pulmonary
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