Living with a COPD Diagnosis in a COVID-19 World

Senior inhalation therapy in progress

Living with a COPD diagnosis during the pandemic requires extra vigilance to stay safe.

Those with a COPD diagnosis have needed to stay especially vigilant since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as they are at both a greater risk for contracting the virus as well as developing more severe complications as a result. A current study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that COPD patients were more prone to be admitted into the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus than those without the disease.

Even though the CDC provides recommendations for all of us to prevent getting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home whenever we can, one recommendation is especially a struggle for an individual with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association suggests that those with a COPD diagnosis try a number of different types of coverings to find the one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the home for short periods of time to become more familiar with the feeling.

Further suggestions include:

  • Continue to take care of your COPD as suggested by the physician, with modifications to curb your exposure to others, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
  • Boost your immune system with a healthier diet and a lot of sleep, and be sure to follow the doctor’s recommended treatment plan.
  • Take proper care of your emotional health to reduce anxiety and stress. Turn off the news and social media and take part in soothing and gratifying activities instead. And be sure to check with a mental health professional if needed for help with managing stress and preventing depression.

Of particular importance for those with COPD is the need for 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, physical exercise is particularly challenging. He, as well as the Respiratory Health Association, recommend (with doctor’s approval):

  • Aim for no less than half an hour of exercise on a daily basis, at least 3x every week.
  • Try leg lifts, marching in position, and arm circles, utilizing canned goods or small weights.
  • Go up and down stairs.
  • Incorporate deep breathing exercises.

These resources provide additional helpful tips specific to COPD considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic:

For knowledgeable in-home care for people who have COPD or other chronic conditions, get in touch with Endeavor In-Home Care, providers of exceptional caregivers in Gilbert, AZ and the surrounding areas. Our staff are fully trained and experienced in providing personalized home care to make life safer and more enjoyable. You can reach us any time at 480-498-2324.