Seniors diagnosed with COPD have needed to stay particularly vigilant since the COVID-19 pandemic started, because they are likely at both a higher risk for contracting the virus and also for developing more serious complications as a result. A recently available research study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that people with COPD were more apt to be admitted to the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus than those without the disease.
And while the CDC provides strategies for all of us, as well as those with COPD, to avoid getting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home whenever possible, one advisory is especially a challenge for an individual with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association recommends that individuals with COPD try an assortment of different kinds of coverings to find the one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the home for brief periods of time to become more used to the feeling.
Additional suggestions include:
- Continue to manage your COPD as suggested by the doctor, with modifications to limit your contact with other people, such as for instance telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
- Boost your body’s defense system with a healthy and balanced diet and lots of rest, and make certain to follow the physician’s recommended treatment plan.
- Take care of your emotional health to lower stress. Turn off the news and social media and take part in soothing and rewarding activities instead. And be sure to speak with a mental health professional as necessary for help with managing stress and combating depression.
Of particular significance for those with COPD is the importance of frequent exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, due to the fact that COPD causes shortness of breath, doing exercises is especially challenging. He, and the Respiratory Health Association, recommend (with doctor’s approval):
- Strive for no less than 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least three times weekly.
- Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, making use of canned goods or small weights.
- Go up and down stairs
- Incorporate deep breathing exercises.
These resources offer more useful information specific to COPD considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The American Lung Association
- The Respiratory Health Association
- The COPD Foundation
- Living with COPD
For reliable in-home care for those with COPD or any other chronic conditions, get in touch with Midnight Sun in Anchorage. Our staff are thoroughly trained and experienced in providing personalized care to help make life safer and more enjoyable. You can reach us any time at 907.677.7890.