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Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays With COPD

Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays With COPD

It’s that time of year again… the holiday season. Certainly, it can be a happy time for many of us, with parties, gift-giving and extra time to spend with family and friends. But, if you have COPD, it can also be a time when you come into contact with different substances and different situations that may trigger your symptoms.

With a few simple steps, though, you can take special care to lower your risks and maintain a positive health status all through the holidays. So, here are a few tips that you may find helpful.

Be Careful With Decorations

Decorations that are stored away the rest of the year may be dusty when you take them out to put them up for your winter holidays. Take time to wipe them down before using them.

Candles can lend such a festive air, but the scented kind may be irritating to people with COPD and may make it harder for you to breathe. The smoke they emit might also be irritating. Consider displaying them without lighting them, or look for the battery operated kind. They’ll still give you the ambiance of a wax candle, but without the smoke and without the perfume.

Christmas trees brought in from outside often contain dust, pollen and mold spores. If you are sensitive to any of these substances, an artificial tree might be a better choice for you.

Packing anything you save from year to year in airtight totes can help protect them from collecting dust and other irritants.

Visit Others’ Homes or Public Places Carefully

When you’re home, you’re usually in control of your environment to a great extent. But when you visit family members’ or friends’ homes for holiday activities, this will not be the case. You may come into contact with secondhand smoke, fireplace or wood stove smoke, perfumes and other irritants. Be aware that this is a risk, and come prepared to make a hasty exit, if needed, or to at least have medication on hand to help you deal with symptoms.

Plan Your Holiday Shopping

Shopping can be both stressful and exhausting, not a great combination if you have COPD. You may want to avoid the holiday rush at stores entirely. Consider shopping online or asking a family member to do your shopping for you.

If you do decide to venture out, pick a time when stores are less likely to be as busy, such as early morning or a Sunday evening. If you drive, try to find parking places close to an entrance, so you’re not worn out before you start. Or, if someone is giving you a lift, have them drop you at an entrance. Do your walking inside the store, not up to it.

Also, be sure to wear a scarf or neck gaiter that you can pull up over your mouth and nose. This will help warm the air you breathe in. Cold air can be a trigger for symptoms in some people.

Don’t Sacrifice Your Health for a Clean House

If you’re entertaining over the holidays, it’s natural to want a sparkling clean house. But cleaning can wear you out, so take it slow. Clean one room at a time, or even just part of a room. Better yet, ask someone to help you, or hire someone if necessary.

Also, use natural and unscented cleaning products. You don’t want those fumes and perfumes to get to you. Vinegar, baking soda and water can do wonders!

In Summary

Holidays can be wonderful times of togetherness and fun. Just because you have COPD is no reason not to participate. With these few simple steps, as well as paying attention to getting enough sleep and using your medication or oxygen, if prescribed, you can have a magical holiday season too.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Goofy
    8 months ago

    I do use a concentrator at night and I believe the eight hours of oxygen makes a big difference in how I feel. It’s probably a good idea for anyone diagnosed with COPD to begin using oxygen early on. If this disease is progressing at all in me, it’s very slow about it!

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    8 months ago

    I’m glad to hear you are feeling so well, Goofy! Following your doctor’s recommendations regarding treatment can be so important for feeling your best with COPD! Keep up the great work! ~Allyson ( team)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi Goofy and thanks for your post. People with COPD who have been prescribed supplemental oxygen generally feel better when they use it. You are indeed fortunate to have the progression of your COPD moving slowly. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

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