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How Seasons Affect COPD Sufferers

Mar2021image002.jpgSpring is here and summer isn’t far behind. That means people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) need to be extra vigilant, as changes in seasons can lead to dangerous flare-ups.

Each season presents its own set of challenges to COPD sufferers. However, by being aware of their surroundings and doing a little research, people living with COPD can sidestep the adverse effects these changes can have on their health.

  • Spring — Budding trees and blooming flowers can wreak havoc on people with allergies. Not everyone living with COPD suffers from spring allergies, however, those who have both are at a higher risk of COPD flare-ups. If you plan to go outside, check the pollen count by visiting the National Allergy Bureau. If it’s too high, stay indoors or reschedule your activities for when the count is lower — and safer.
  • Summer — This is a particularly challenging time for people living with COPD. The hot weather means your body has to work harder to stay cool, which can lead to exhaustion, and the rise in humidity makes the air heavier and harder to breathe. Smog levels tend to rise on hot, humid days, which can also cause a COPD flare-up. All these factors signal that summer may be a good time to stay indoors and enjoy the cool comfort of a well-ventilated, air conditioned space.
  • Fall — While the cooler weather will bring a measure of relief to COPD sufferers, it also brings about troubling allergens such as ragweed and autumn pollen, both of which can exacerbate flare-ups. If you have COPD and allergies, it is important to keep your windows shut and stay inside during the middle of the day, when pollen counts are at their highest. Flu season begins in October, so this is a good time to get a flu shot — a great way for COPD sufferers to further protect and preserve their lung capacity.
  • Winter — Studies show that COPD sufferers experience the highest number of flare-ups and hospitalizations during the winter months. One reason is that people stay inside when the weather gets cold and inadvertently spread all kinds of viruses and infections to others. If you have COPD, try avoiding people who are sick, wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer. Your doctor may also recommend getting the pneumococcal vaccine to help stave off pneumonia.

Read the complete Healthgrades story for more on how the changing seasons affect COPD sufferers.