Tidbits for COPD in Cold Weather at Home & Away
Cold weather is definitely here. With it comes a change in our own health. I don’t know about you, but my body feels the changes and reacts to things differently in the winter than it does during the other seasons. Different, because temperatures are cold. Different because houses, businesses and other places close doors and windows to keep the elements out. Our health is so important. We need to be on the offense as well as defense.
I have a go bag ready to go out the door at any time. Do you? It’s good to be prepared, especially if you are traveling overnight or longer:
- Know the temperature, as you leave and when you are planning on returning home. Be prepared for all things.
- Let someone know where you are going.
- Make sure that cell phones are charged and bring a charger.
In a large envelope:
- Put in a list of all of your medications, which includes your doctor’s name and phone numbers.
- Include a list of your illnesses, allergies, medical history, family history, and any other information that you think would help a doctor in treating you, in case you get sick or are in an accident.
- Your rescue inhaler is most necessary if you have one. When I go anywhere, I carry a second one, because I have dropped one in the toilet when it fell out of my pocket. Things do happen!
- If you are traveling outside of your area, if you have a DNR, you should include an original copy in your envelope. A power of attorney as well.
Pack extra medications in case you will be late getting home or away longer, then you will be able to continue your treatment as directed. When transporting medications, make sure that they are in their original containers with the label, so that the medication is identifiable.
- Do you have enough oxygen to get you through your time away? Try to get more if needed, if you are unable to do that, be sure to have the name of your oxygen supplier with you and/or the name of the doctor that wrote the prescription for your oxygen. Will you need extra tubing?
- Do you neb frequently? I have an extra nebulizer, so I take that along, as well as albuterol or other inhaled medication. I have to remember to take extra equipment and tubing. I Keep this in my go bag, so only have to grab and go.
- I have a plug-in that’s great. One end goes into the lighter and the electrical equipment plugs into the other end.
- I also carry blankets that plug in to the lighter and are heated, as well as a snack.
Knowing how important it is for circulation, if you can’t go out and walk, stop at a gas station and walk around or if in the car, move/wiggle around to keep your circulation going.
Before leaving home:
- If you use an inhaler or nebulizer, use 30 minutes before going outside.
- Limit your exposure to the cold
- Dress comfortably and in layers to stay warm.
- Cover your face when you go outside, your head as well. You can use a scarf, a balaclava, or a mask. There are so many styles.
- If you use oxygen, put the tubing inside of your coat/clothes so that you are not breathing in that cold air.
- Be sure to wear sturdy shoes or boots that have soles with some traction so that you don’t slip and slide.
- Hopefully someone can start the car for you. Maybe you have a remote start.
Things to do at home:
- Check your filters and change them regularly, I do mine monthly
- Change your batteries regularly
- Smoke Detectors
- CO2 Detectors
- Pulse Oximeter
- Remote Controls for TV and others
- Car Starter
- Talk to your power company. Let them know that you are on oxygen. If your power goes out, hopefully they will turn yours on quickest. Some people have a generator, which can be very helpful if a person has one.
For your health:
- Continue your indoor exercise. If you haven’t been exercising, start. Talk to your doctor and get his/her okay. See if there is pulmonary rehab in your area, if so, have your doctor send you.
- Eat healthy & nutritious meals
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Get your flu, pneumonia and shingles immunizations
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night
- Ask your doctor if you should take extra vitamins. We lack vitamins because of less sunlight
- Avoid people who are sick
- Avoid wood burning fireplaces, etc.
- Avoid cigarette, cigar and other smoke
- Avoid scented products, places and even people
- Avoid chemicals and harsh cleaning supplies
- Pace yourself
- Stay in touch with others