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When You Are Diagnosed With COPD
There are many things that you can do to make living with COPD easier:
If you smoke, the best thing you can to do prevent more damage to your lungs is to quit. Ask your doctor or health care provider about new options for quitting. The National Cancer Institute has information on smoking cessation. Visit SmokeFree.gov, the American Lung Association, or call 1-800-QUIT NOW for more information.
Try 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.
See your doctor or health care provider regularly, even if you are feeling fine. Be sure to bring a list of all medicines you are taking to each office visit.
Be sure to take your medications and follow your doctor or health care provider's advice on how to treat your disease. If you have any questions-ASK!
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.
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.
There are many COPD support groups offered at local hospitals and there is a very active COPD community online. Family members are also a great resource for support as you learn to live with and manage COPD.