Early warning signs of an acute exacerbation are unique to each person. Usually you are the best person to know if you are having sustained breathing problems. However, some changes are more likely to be noticed by other persons. So it is important to share this information with your family and those close to you.
The most common signs and symptoms of an acute exacerbation are:
Worsening of your stable condition
Increased difficulty breathing, even at rest
You might be surprised at some of the things around the house that can cause trouble. For example, some air filters that help rid the air of dust give off small amounts of ozone, an air pollutant that is a lung irritant.
“Ozone can certainly be problematic for people with COPD,” says Byron Thomashow, MD, professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and chairman of the COPD Foundation. “That’s why I usually recommend HEPA filters,” which don’t give off ozone.
Here are nine other household hazards for people with COPD:
1. Air Ducts Filled With Dust
The forced-air heating and cooling systems found in many homes can blow dust and other irritants throughout the house. Cleaning the air ducts periodically can help alleviate this problem.
2. Carpets That Collect Dust and Dirt
Rugs and carpets are another major source of dust and dirt. “Every time you walk on a carpet or rug, you stir up a cloud of dust that you may or may not be able to see,” says Neil Schachter, MD, professor of medicine and community medicine and medical director of the respiratory care department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Wall-to-wall carpets cause more trouble than rugs, because they tend to be bigger (and therefore harbor more irritants) and harder to clean than rugs (which can simply be rolled up and taken to a cleaner). New carpets can be especially irritating, because they can “out-gas” formaldehyde and other noxious organic compounds for an extended period of time after installation.