Precautions for COPD and ILD

Don’ts that need to be taken care of by COPD and ILD people:

1.  Avoid People who smoke. Smoke contains 26 chemicals that irritate your lungs. Second hand smoke also contains carbon monoxide, which replaces the oxygen in your blood when inhaled. If your oxygen level is already low being exposed to second hand smoke can be dangerous for you.

2.  Avoid perfumes and aerosol sprays that can irritate your airways.

3.  Avoid household cleaners containing ammonia and chlorine 

4.  Avoid too humid places. Use an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. Take baths if you find showers too humid.

5.  Avoid too dry places. When it is too dry use a humidifier or steamer. Make sure you wash your steamer daily with detergent and soak weekly with a 1:5 solution of water and white vinegar in order to prevent germ growth.

6.  Avoid bending down or stretching too far as it can often lead to breathlessness. Keep your essentials on a table in front of you or within easy reach. If you have to pick something up from say the floor or above you use a grabbing device or sit down on the floor to rummage.

Some of the Rules to be followed by COPD and ILD people:

1. Try to stay away from People who have cold and cough. Cold  germs can travel 2-3 feet when someone coughs or sneezes.

2. Keep dust under control in your home by vacuuming and dusting with a damp cloth frequently. Use synthetic bedding and foam pillows..

3. In cold weather dress warmly. Take puffers just before going out. Have someone warm the car up for you. Wear a few layers of scarf over your nose and mouth to warm the air and avoid bronchospasm.

4. Pursed-lip breathing. This helps many people with breathing difficulty. It also may help you to bring rapid breathing and anxiety under control.It is very helpful in raising blood oxygen (02) levels and ridding the lungs of carbon dioxide (CO2). It involves breathing in quickly through the nose and then breathing out more slowly and for longer time through the mouth until you fully empty your lungs . Practice this for at least 30 minutes a day and when walking or climbing the stairs. Try it and see if it helps you. Walk up a step or two breathing out, pause & inhale, move on again breathing out.

5. Incentive Spirometer :The following steps will demonstrate how to properly use an incentive spirometer.

a.  Sit or lie upright in a comfortable position.
b.  Hold the incentive spirometer upright, with both hands.
c.  Place the mouthpiece into your mouth and tightly seal your lips around it.
d.  With your lips tightly sealed around the mouthpiece, breathe in slowly and    as deeply as possible. The ball that is resting should now rise toward the top of the column.
e.  Hold your breath for at least 3 seconds and allow the ball to fall back to the bottom of the column.
f.  After each set of deep breathing, cough to help clear your airways of mucus.
g.  Rest for a few seconds and repeat steps two through seven,  you can start with 10 repetitions thrice a day. As you get comfortable and are able to lift all 3 balls you can start challenging your further by increasing the repetitions.

Normally, an incentive spirometer is recommended for people who can’t walk or get out of bed. If you are recovering from surgery , ILD or COPD exacerbation, you can use your incentive spirometer to keep your lungs inflated.

6.  Physical exercise is a must. It will help you to fight the disease in long run.Exercise will allow you to have near normal life,to do day to day activities. Walking or using stationary cycle is a good way to maintain your muscles in shape. Letting your oxygen levels fall well below 90% (sats.) while exercising occasionally will not harm you. If, however, you do this many times a day, day after day, then it will eventually place too much strain on the heart and internal organs. Imagine living at base camp on Everest indefinitely! I know that people can adapt to high altitude where the oxygen levels are low, but having COPD means your lungs are compromised. Purchase a pulse oximeter if possible. This will allow you to monitor your oxygen levels both at rest and with exercise, and use oxygen when appropriate while exercising.

7.  Consider your Doctor as part of your family, trust him and stick to him.

8.  If you have Diabetes, Control it properly

9.  Have a light dinner, two- three hours before you sleep.

10. Keep your calm, anxiety will creates problem.

How to Live Easy with COPD and ILD

Living with COPD and ILD is difficult. It can be made easier by following these simple steps. These have been brought forward by person with challenged breathing. He used them so can you.

1. Prioritize. Make a list of the activities you have to do (e.g., bathe, cook, clean, etc.) and those you like to do (e.g., garden, visit friends, etc.). Eliminate tasks that are not necessary or enjoyable. But why is prioritize required. Well, it is necessary as energy level is in short supply. Moreover every job done by the patient requires double amount of energy than a normal person therefore they tend to get tired quickly.

2. How to Plan– Schedule your activities so that they are broken up throughout the week. Do not try to do too much at any one time. Schedule those tasks that require the most energy for the time of day when you have more energy.

3. Why Pace Yourself- People with breathing problems often try to rush through difficult tasks to get them over with, leaving themselves very short of breath. It is better to perform the task at a slower pace. If you start to become more short of breath, take a short break and catch your breath. Break large tasks into several smaller parts, taking breaks as needed. Try not to talk during activity.Talking takes energy and may cause your breathing patterns to be less efficient. Try to alternate heavy tasks with lighter ones.

4. Do your best to get a good night’s sleep– Sleep is very important for people with this problem. It is only during the sleep when our body is able to repair itself. This is only time when our mind truly relaxes and rests. Sleep is only time when COPD and ILD people can in real sense be at peace as they do not have to think how are they going to breathe in the very next moment. Therefore Sleep is must for the patient as this is only time when they are not exerting themselves to breathe.

5. Raising your head area while sleeping– If at night when you lie down you cough more and this makes it difficult to sleep, you should raise the head area with one or two pillows. These pillows can go on the top of mattress but at times neck is not so comfortable in this position, therefore you can put the pillows below the mattress creating a gentle incline from your waist upward.

6. Positioning. Most people with breathing problems find that working overhead or bending over makes them short of breath. Try to position frequently used items in a place that prevents bending or reaching. When possible, perform a task at waist to chest level supporting your elbows or forearms while you work. Keep a high stool handy in your work areas to allow you to sit down to perform tasks (e.g., washing dishes). Often, people with challenged breathing use their accessory muscles (i.e., muscles in the upper chest and rib cage) to assist their diaphragm with breathing. Using a tri-pod position (i.e., leaning forward with arms extended with hands or elbows resting on a surface), can help to stabilize the shoulders and more effectively decreased breathlessness.

7. Pursed-Lip Breathing.This is a breathing technique that allows for better emptying of stale air from the lungs, more oxygen into your blood, and is also relaxing. It is performed by inhaling through the nose, then exhale slowly through pursed lips (as if whistling). Exhaling should take about twice as long as inhaling (i.e., count 1, 2 while inhaling and 1, 2, 3, 4 for exhaling).Relax while performing and do not force a deeper than normal inhalation or exhalation. When performing an activity that makes you short of breath, use the pursed lip breathing. Try performing the work while exhaling.For example, when climbing stairs, inhale while resting on a stair. Then as you exhale through pursed lips, climb one or two stairs. Repeat this, pacing yourself up the stairs.

8. Coughing will be helped if you keep a throat soother in your mouth. Sucking on that sweet will help coughing to subside. Ask you doctor to prescribe something safe for you. Sugar Free throat soother are also available now.

9. O2 inhaling is not so bad– O2 inhaling is not bad but becoming breathless is. If any activity makes you breathless you need to take you therapy O2 rather than stopping those activities like going for a walk, taking bath.You can use therapy O2 while taking bath as breathlessness will create more problem. To counter the increase of CO2 in blood you should do more of PLB breathing exercise and your spirometry.

10. Positive Attitude– Many patients with severe breathing difficulties never give up. Rather than focusing on what they cannot do, they should center on what they can do and maintain a high quality of life. These people can stay more active than many people without breathing challenges.They are very creative in finding ways to adapt their activities so that they can continue to perform them.  is a non-profit website and proceeds from web advertisements help support the website. does not endorse any of the products and services advertised on website.