Living Well With COPD - Page 7

Here are some constructive ways you can take control of your COPD. Quit Smoking The single most important thing you can do to improve your life and health is quit smoking. This includes all forms of tobacco: • • • • • Cigarettes E-cigarettes Cigars Pipes Hookahs There are more options today than ever before for the support you need to overcome a nicotine addiction. Oral medications may have side effects. It’s important to discuss these options with your health-care provider. When you want to quit smoking, your best chance for success is with the help of others. To find smoking cessation counseling programs and/or support groups, check your local: • • • • • Hospitals Nicotine gums Nicotine lozenges Nicotine inhalers Nicotine nasal sprays There are now oral medications that can help you control the urge to smoke: • • Bupropion (Zyban) Varenicline (Chantix) • Ask your health-care provider about pneumonia vaccines. These vaccines protect against most common strains of bacteria that cause common pneumonia types. • If you think you may have the flu, see your health-care provider and get treatment as early as possible. Flu medications are most effective if given in the first 48 hours after symptoms appear. They are less effective if given later. Early treatment may shorten your recovery time. Community centers Take advantage of these programs to gain the support and encouragement you need to quit smoking for good. Nicotine replacement options include: • • • • Ask your health-care provider about getting a flu shot every year at the end of September or early October. Flu types change every year and so do the vaccines. A flu shot one year does not protect you from getting the flu in subsequent years. Flu shots have been shown to be safe in patients with COPD. They will not cause a flare-up. If you are allergic to eggs, a flu shot may not be suitable for you. Civic groups Using a product that lessens the urge to smoke (nicotine replacement) Over-the-counter and prescription nicotine patches • Libraries Group or individual counseling • Germs are most commonly shared on handrails, doorknobs, shopping carts – anything that people touch. Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs. Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water aren’t available. Health clinics Your health-care provider can help you. Start by working with him or her to choose the option that works best for you, such as: • • • Avoid Getting the Flu or Pneumonia Having COPD increases your chances of getting the flu and other respiratory infections, including pneumonia. • Avoid germs. Try to stay away from people who are sick with a cold or flu. A cough and sneeze contain droplets of an infectious organism. Covering your nose and mouth reduces droplet transmission. Ask for people around you to do the same. 5