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Living with COPD: How You Can Stay Safe this Holiday Season

For many people, the holiday season brings lots of excitement, celebrations, and socializing. It's the ideal time of year to eat, drink, and be merry while catching up with family and friends. If you live with a chronic respiratory condition such as COPD, the holiday season can also bring some challenges. Fortunately, if you plan ahead and stay safe, you can still partake in holiday fun — even while living with COPD or another chronic respiratory condition.


Here are some tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.


Simplify Your Holiday Travel Plans

The holiday season is typically one of the busiest times to travel; however, this year also brings additional stresses like a high chance of flight cancellations and increased health risks. As of December 2nd, the CDC has advised that all people in the U.S. postpone travel and stay home if possible, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If travel is necessary, here are some important tips that could help you stay safe. 


  • Make an appointment with your healthcare provider before you travel and let them know your plans. Be sure to refill your medications in plenty of time, and don't forget to get your flu shot!
  • Plan your travel around peak holiday travel days; this can help to reduce the number of people you come in contact with. 
  • Check travel restrictions before you set off.
  • Wear a mask in public settings, such as airports and stations.
  • If you're flying and require supplemental oxygen, check your airline's policy to ensure you understand their regulations. 
  • Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet apart from anyone not in your travel group.
  • Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Don't travel if you or someone you know is sick.

Socialize Responsibly

It's important to weigh up the risks associated with social events and family get-togethers — especially if you're living with a chronic respiratory condition such as COPD. The CDC recommends that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.


One way to enjoy safe family time this holiday season is to organize fun game nights and movie showings at home. Make a night of it by preparing some tasty snacks and challenging your family to your favorite board game. You can even involve your extended family by enjoying a virtual game night via FaceTime or Zoom! 


However you choose to socialize, make sure you have all of your medications and medication delivery devices at hand. A portable nebulizer offers a convenient way to complete your respiratory treatment on-the-go and makes it easy to adhere to your doctor’s recommended care plan.

 

Enjoy a Nutritious Diet

The holiday season is all about indulgence, but it's possible to enjoy seasonal treats while still giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. When living with a chronic respiratory condition, it's essential to maintain your strength and energy levels. In fact, the breathing muscles of those diagnosed with COPD can require ten times more calories to fuel than a person without COPD. It's crucial to get the bulk of your calorie needs from nutritious food sources such as lean protein, vegetables, and fruit. 


Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay well-hydrated. You should also try to avoid food and beverages that cause gas or indigestion, as a bloated abdomen can make breathing uncomfortable. Eating several smaller meals, rather than three large meals, can help keep your stomach from filling up too much, giving your lungs more room to expand. It’s also a good idea to limit your alcohol intake, as alcohol can slow your breathing and make it difficult to clear mucus from your lungs.

Practice Self-Care

Episodes of stress can lead to frequent flare-ups of COPD symptoms and can also weaken the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness. If you’re living with COPD, it’s important to learn how to manage your stress. Practicing self-care is one way to help reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. Be sure to slow down and take time out from your busy schedule whenever you feel the need. Although the holidays can be hectic, it’s crucial that you live life at a pace that suits you. 


Have Fun!

While living with a chronic respiratory condition can present challenges, it's still possible to enjoy the holiday season and maintain your health. Being proactive and planning ahead will protect your lungs and help you gain control over your respiratory symptoms.    


Are you living with a chronic respiratory condition, such as COPD? Experience the AireHealth difference today.