How to Manage Triggers of COPD

Managing COPD Triggers

There’s always no obvious cause for COPD flare-ups, however, the following often trigger COPD symptoms:

READ ALSO: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Air pollution

Pollutants like pollen, dust, chimney smoke, and car fumes, can cause an irritation to the lungs and airways. Air pollution can cause abrupt flare-ups of COPD symptoms and increase the risk of complications and even death.

Ensure you check the daily air quality forecasts, to reduce exposure to air pollution. Do well to limit the time spent outdoors when the air quality is poor. High levels of ozone may also contribute to COPD symptoms.

READ ALSO: Early Signs of COPD

Cigarette smoke

Tobacco smoke can cause the existing symptoms of COPD to worsen. Smoking destroys the lungs by causing inflammation, narrowing the air passages, and destroying the air sacs. Smoking can irritate the airways for people with COPD and increase the risk of lung infection.

A person COPD should totally quit smoking, and consult a doctor about programs and medications that can help.

Cold, hot, or humid weather

People with COPD should reduce the time spent outdoors in very hot, cold, or humid weather. COPD symptoms can be triggered by extreme weather in some people. In a 2017 study, 106 people with COPD were asked to record their symptoms each day for about a year and a half.

The researchers discovered that low temperature and high humidity were likely to trigger COPD symptoms in participants.

READ ALSO: Breathing Exercises for People with COPD

The researchers suggested that people with COPD prevent the temperature indoors from dropping below 18.2°C (64.8°F) and ensure that the humidity level stays below 70 percent. A dehumidifier can help reduce indoor humidity.

It is advisable for people with COPD to cover their nose and mouth with a scarf when going outdoors in cold weather.

Dust and fumes

Dust, fumes, or chemicals can irritate the lungs and lead to breathing issues. Some household chores and chemicals can worsen symptoms of COPD. These triggers included:

  • sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming
  • cleaning products
  • perfumes
  • scented products, such as candles, bug spray, and hair products
  • wood smoke

If you have COPD, keep the are well-ventilated when cleaning or using chemicals. ,Take regular breaks, and wear a protective mask.

Respiratory infections

COPD increases the risk of respiratory infections because it damages the lungs, causing pneumonia, flu, and cold. These issues are also more likely to become severe and lead to complications. Respiratory infections can also trigger COPD symptoms.

People with COPD should wash the hands frequently, practice good general hygiene, and avoid people with respiratory infections.

Warning signs of a flare-up

It is essential to recognize the warning signs of a COPD flare-ups since it gives a person chance to act fast. Warning signs of a COPD flare-up can include:

  • increased wheezing or coughing
  • fever
  • increased shortness of breath
  • a change in the consistency of mucus
  • swelling in the feet, legs, or ankles
  • frequent use of medications to treat symptoms

Consult a doctor is symptoms continue to deteriorate.

Tips for managing COPD

The following tips can help a person manage their COPD symptoms.

 Coughing effectively

COPD can thicken mucus, making it difficult to bring up in a cough. Mucus which is left to stay in the lungs can cause difficulty in breathing and increase the risk of infection. A doctor can advise about the most effective ways to bring mucus out of the lungs in a cough.

Taking correct medications

The range of prescription medications for COPD includes:

  • oxygen therapy
  • inhaled steroids
  • short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators

It is essential to understand exactly when and how to take these medications. A person should use some only when needed.

Healthful lifestyle

Maintaining a general healthy lifestyle can increase energy for people with COPD. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet that includes protein, minerals, and vitamins, getting exercise daily, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night.


Disclaimer: The content provided on is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.

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