Managing COPD Symptoms In Fall Weather

Managing the change of seasons is never easy with COPD because each season is as unique as your COPD is and brings its own surprises. Winter is cold and dry, spring is too wet, and summers with high humidity prevent me from going out, so I feel best in autumn.

Preparing for seasonal changes and COPD care

It won't be long now, and the seasonal changes will begin. There will be a crispness to the air as the temperatures drop.

For those of us with COPD, taking a deep breath can cause a bronchospasm that increases Understanding Mucus in Your Lungs, coughing, and shortness of breath.

It should be assumed that taking good care of all your normal issues like sleep, stress, diet, and nutrition, being active with exercise, and keeping your thoughts positive are essential. Remember that this is also vaccine season, so get your plan started and get the shots in the proper order.

COPD-friendly fall clothing choices

I love sweater weather and always treated myself to new fall sweaters. These days, wearing a sweater is too restrictive with my claustrophobia and advanced COPD, so I've moved to shawls and capes.

I love that capes are lighter and easier to carry but warm at the same time. On colder days, I can simply double up.

I always wear a neck warmer or a long scarf for wrapping when I need to protect myself from the cold air. Now I believe what my Granny told me about keeping my neck covered. If I am going to be in a crowd or in proximity to others, I always have a fresh surgical mask, and I am not shy about using it.

Coping with cold weather

My cannulas are fully exposed to the outside temperatures, and since I am on oxygen all of the time, the temperature can get pretty low, and that oxygen goes straight into my lungs.

To alleviate the cold from the oxygen, my husband has covered my exposed cannulas with weather stripping. I'm not sure if this actually works and have certainly never tested to see if it does, but in my head, it works great; therefore, I use it all the time. Yes, people ask me about it all the time.

It's a tempting time to walk in nature, watching the changing color of the leaves, but it is not a good activity for those of us with COPD. Falling leaves get wet. They can promote a kind of mold on the bottom of the leaves, and breathing that in is not good.

Open campfires should also be avoided. This particular pollution can cause small fibers to enter the lungs and get into your bloodstream.

Take precautions if you are visiting fall fairs. It can be so much fun, but be aware of your surroundings.

Nurturing your mental health in the fall

On the subject of being aware, be aware that as days are getting shorter, a structured hobby helps us cope. Fall is a time of high depression incidents, so check your mental health often. Find ways to stay in touch with friends and family without physically visiting.

Enjoy the fall season. It is a beautiful time!

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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