8 Ways to Prevent COPD Flare-Ups

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Paige Greenfield Fowler on June 24, 2021
  • Senior women laughing outdoors
    8 Ways to Prevent COPD Flare-Ups
    You're in Control. With COPD, it can feel like there's a lot that's out of your control. At times, even your breathing may seem to have a mind of its own. But the reality is there's plenty you can do to make your life easier and keep flare-ups at bay.
  • COPD quit smoking
    1. Kick the Habit for Good
    Quit smoking: It's the very best thing you can do to prevent more lung damage. Today, there are many methods to help you quit. So even if you've tried before, you can succeed this time. Talk with your doctor, visit smokefree.gov, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to learn how you can stay smoke-free for good.
  • senior patient talking to doctor
    2. See Your Doctor Regularly
    Even if you've been doing well lately, it's still important to visit your physician on a regular basis. Bring a list of your medications so he or she can review what you're taking. Your doctor can also make recommendations about your diet to make sure you're getting the right nutrients to stay well.
  • woman holding vitamin pill and glass of water
    3. Take Your Medication
    Your medications are designed to help you breathe easier. They can reduce inflammation in your airway, prevent flare-ups, and control symptoms when they occur. Take your medications as directed, and be sure to refill your prescriptions before they run out.
  • dusting-near-bed
    4. Avoid Irritants
    Particles in the air can irritate your lungs and worsen COPD. Do your best to steer clear of dust and secondhand smoke. Make plans to be away from your home if it needs to be painted or sprayed for insects, since the chemical fumes can irritate your lungs. Try to stay inside on days when the air quality outside is poor.
  • woman-receiving-shot-in-arm
    5. Fend Off the Flu
    The flu can cause serious complications when you have COPD, so ask your doctor about a yearly flu vaccine. Take steps to reduce your risk of getting sick, such as staying away from crowds during flu season and frequently washing your hands with soap and water.
  • woman relaxing on sofa
    6. Take It Easy
    To keep COPD symptoms under control, slow down. Take your time doing activities throughout the day so you won't overexert yourself. Keep items that you frequently use in places that are easy to reach. Ask your family and friends for help when you need it.
  • COPD Move More
    7. Move More
    Your COPD symptoms may make it difficult to stay active, but don't give up. Ask your doctor what kinds of exercise may be appropriate for you. Incorporating more physical activity into your day can strengthen the muscles that help you breathe—helping you feel better overall.
  • COPD Ask Questions
    8. Ask Questions
    If you want to learn more about your COPD, or if your doctor says something you don't understand, just ask. When you understand your condition and how to treat it, you'll be better able to keep flare-ups from compromising your well-being.
8 Ways to Prevent COPD Flare-Ups

About The Author

  1. Living With COPD, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/livingwith.html)
  2. How is COPD Treated? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/treatment.html)
  3. Taking Action, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/copd/breathing-better/taking-action.htm)
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 24
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.