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What are your COPD triggers?

COPD exacerbations can come out of nowhere but knowing what triggered it may help you avoid one in the future. If you know what your triggers are, let us know in the comments!

  1. ,
    My flare ups have been caused by a couple things. One was smoke from a BBQ pit coupled with fire pit smoke at an outdoor birthday party (it was mid-March and chilly). I did my best to stay in a non-smokey area, but it was pretty much a lost cause. Pet hair and dander make it hard for me to breathe. I went to an airshow in San Antonio this past April. It was really windy (35 mph+), dusty, and exhaust fumes from the airshow performers cause a flare up. Last airshow I will attend. Oak pollen and grass pollen cause problems for my breathing. Mowing the lawn is not possible without breathing protection. I wear a gator when I mow, and it has helped alleviate allergens getting into my airways. Other triggers are really hot weather (as it is right now in South Central Texas), dust and dirt, ozone action days, high winds, Saharan dust, strong smells from cleaning products, strong perfumes, strong cooking smells (such as garlic), and any kind of petroleum product smells, to name a few. I now know if I start having a hard time catching my breathe, to get out of the situation immediately. Not always a fun thing to do, but a necessary thing for me to do. I am so much more aware now, that I find myself less and less in a situation that requires me to suddenly have to leave due to breathing problems. It is an ever-changing process. Just have to stay alert and aware of what a trigger feels like and get away from it asap. Haven't have a flare up since late April / early May. Hopefully I can keep it that way.

    1. @CopdGirl Hi again, CopdGirl, and thanks for this post. I realize you addressed your comment to our community member, , and I imagine he will respond personally, too, when he has an opportunity. I know he is preparing for an upcoming move (within the next 2 weeks, I think), so he may be busy now).
      I also have something to contribute. I remember you shared, in an earlier post that you lost your mam. I didn't know you also lost your Dad. I am sorry for your loss!
      I hear you - loud and clear! Like you, I lost both my parents (Dad in 1982, and Mom in 1996) - it is a pain in my heart that continues every day. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss each of them! I like to think they live on through my remembrances of them and through the good life I try to live in their memory.
      Warm regards,
      Leon (site moderator

    2. @CopdGirl ,
      Sorry to hear of your loss. Anytime any of us loses a cherished family member, it is emotionally hard. It is like a piece of us went with them. All one can do is keep on living and keep the loving memories alive. I know that doesn't make it any easier, but what else can one do?
      It is especially hard when one is already suffering from physical ailments, and then add in emotional strain, really can have a toll. I wish there was more I could say to make you feel better. You sound a bit alone at this point. You should reach out to your brother and at least be able to talk to him. Otherwise try to find some help emotionally. A pastor, a friend, a counselor, anyone who could help you come to grips with your mourning and allow you to do some emotional venting. Take care CopdGirl and God Bless. The community is here for you whenever you need someone to talk to.

  2. I haven't had a sense of smell since the mid 80s, probably because of smoking at that time, so I don't know if smells are a trigger. I do try to buy everything I use unscented. The week of July 4 I had a cold, coughing & blowing my nose & this triggered a full blown exacerbation for the first time in 2 years. My doc ordered antibiotics & steroids & it took 2 weeks to get better but I think it worsened my copd over all.

    1. @CopdGirl TY

    2. @CopdGirl thank you - ty 😊

  3. Stress of any form. A disagreement with someone, anger at my inability to perform a simple task. Any form of physical movement can also trigger an episode, going up and down steps, even two or three. Reaching up to get something out of an overhead cabinet. Actually staying as still as possible is the best way of avoiding exacerbation, which is why I spend a great deal of time sitting at my computer or laying in bed watching tv or sleeping. Of course all of this has to be considered in light of the fact that I'm nearly 82 which in and of itself is exacerbating.

    1. Quick weather changes

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