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This article will discuss the importance on how seniors with COPD can avoid infections. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious illness that affects more than 30 million people in the United States. COPD refers to a group of progressive lung diseases that can block airflow and make it difficult to breathe. The diseases categorized as being COPD include chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and emphysema. COPD is prevalent in people over the age of 40 and millions of seniors are affected by this disease.
If you have COPD, it is important to avoid infections which affect the lungs. That includes common infections like the flu and the common cold. These kinds of infections can dramatically worsen your COPD symptoms and lead to more serious infections like pneumonia. This article will share a few tips for avoiding infections that affect the lungs.
Tips for avoiding infections
These simple tips can dramatically reduce your risk of becoming infected with a potentially dangerous illness.
Regularly wash your hands
Bacteria and viruses are often spread from a person’s hands into the body via the eyes, nose, or mouth. Regularly washing your hands can greatly reduce this risk. Wash your hands using soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds throughout the day. If there is no soap and water available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It will kill any bacteria or viruses that are on your hands. Wash your hands more frequently if you are in a busy environment like a shopping center, school, hospital, or doctor’s office.
Avoid people who are already infected
If you become aware that a friend or family member is sick with the flu or common cold, avoid seeing them. If you must see them, wear a face mask and wash your hands after the encounter. If you are in public and notice that someone looks ill, avoid them and use hand sanitizer if you touch an object they recently touched.
Drink plenty of water
Not only is drinking water good for your general health, it helps to keep your lungs healthy. Drinking plenty of water makes your bronchioles healthier. Bronchioles are tiny airways within the lungs that deliver oxygen to the alveoli. If you have healthy bronchioles, you are less likely to suffer from an infection.
Avoid bacterial infections by keeping equipment clean
If you use breathing equipment, make sure it is regularly cleaned and disinfected. That includes humidifiers, inhalers, and oxygen masks.
Steer clear of crowded environments
Viruses and bacteria can be quickly transferred in busy environments that are packed with people — particularly in flu season. If you can, avoid airports, shopping centers, hospitals, schools, and day care centers. If you have to enter one of these locations, be very careful about the things you touch and your proximity to other people.
Concentrate on keeping your airways clear
You are less likely to suffer from an infection if your airways are clear and free of mucus. Ask your doctor for information on how to clear your airway with breathing devices and coughing techniques.
Take vaccines to reduce the risk of infection
Seniors who are suffering from COPD should have the flu vaccine each year to reduce their risk of infection. You should also consider having a pneumococcal vaccine to protect against the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (which causes some types of pneumonia).
Take action on infections immediately
If you suspect you have acquired a respiratory infection, visit a doctor immediately. It is important to treat the condition before it worsens.
How All Heart Home Care Can Help
All Heart Home Care is San Diego’s leading non-medical home care provider. We provide talented Caregivers to help our clients stay healthy and happy in their own home! Our Caregivers can help you avoid respiratory infections by providing a range of services including:
- Transporting you to doctor’s appointments
- Picking up medications and ensuring they are taken appropriately
- Ensuring your home is a clean and safe environment that is free of harmful bacteria and viruses
- Performing your grocery shopping so you are not exposed to busy environments where infections can be picked up
- Assistance performing exercises to clear your airways
We hope you found this article on how seniors with COPD can avoid infections informative. If you have any questions about our services, contact All Heart Home Care at 619-736-4677. We offer in-home consultations and would love to discuss the many home care services available.