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Taking Action

There are many things people at risk for COPD can do:

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, the best thing you can do to prevent more damage to your lungs is to quit. To help you quit, there are many online resources and several new aids available from your doctor or health care provider. The National Cancer Institute has information on smoking cessation. Visit, the American Lung Association, or call 1-800-QUIT NOW for more information.

Avoid Exposure to Pollutants

Image of an old man with his grandson throwing ballTry to stay away from other things that could irritate your lungs, like dust and strong fumes. Stay indoors when the outside air quality is poor. You should also stay away from places where there might be cigarette smoke.

Visit Your Doctor or Health Care Provider on a Regular Basis

See your doctor or health care provider regularly even if you are feeling fine. Make a list of your breathing symptoms and think about any activities that you can no longer do because of shortness of breath. Be sure to bring a list of all the medicines you are taking to each office visit.

Take Precautions Against Seasonal Flu

Do your best to avoid crowds during flu season. In addition to avoiding people with the flu, remembering to wash and sanitize your hands can be one of the best ways to guard against getting sick. It is also a good idea to get a flu shot every year, since the flu can cause serious problems for people with COPD. You should also ask your doctor or health care provider about the pneumonia vaccine.

Take Precautions Against the H1N1 Flu

People with COPD and other chronic conditions may also be at increased risk to become seriously ill with the H1N1 flu (formerly called swine flu). Ask your doctor or health care provider for the H1N1 flu vaccine. This is a flu shot made with inactivated (killed) flu virus. It can be administered at the same visit as any other vaccine, including the pneumonia vaccine. To learn more about the flu, H1N1 and COPD visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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