The best way to keep
COPD from starting or from getting worse is to not
There are clear benefits to quitting, even after years of
smoking. When you stop smoking, you slow down the damage to your lungs. For
most people who quit, loss of lung function is slowed to the same rate as a
Lung infections are the most common cause of acute exacerbations. These infections can be viral or bacterial. Some specific viruses that cause COPD exacerbations are influenza, rhinovirus or adenovirus. Recent evidence suggests exacerbations of COPD are often caused by certain kinds of bacteria. These are known as mycoplasma and chlamydia.
Your health care provider may need to consider the risk of you getting an infection from one of these less common organisms. He/she will need to consider...
Stopping smoking is
especially important if you have low levels of the protein
alpha-1 antitrypsin. People who have an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency may lower their risk for severe COPD if they get regular shots of alpha-1 antitrypsin. Family members of someone with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency should be tested for the condition.
Avoid bad air
Other airway irritants (such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and
dust) also can make COPD worse, but they are far less important than smoking in
causing the disease.
If you have COPD, you need to get a
flu vaccine every year. When people with COPD get the
flu, it often turns into something more serious, like
pneumonia. A flu vaccine can help prevent this from
Also, getting regular flu vaccines may lower your chances
People with COPD often get
pneumonia. Getting a shot can help keep you from getting very ill with
pneumonia. Usually, people need only one shot, but doctors sometimes recommend
a second shot for some people who got their first shot before they turned 65.
Talk with your doctor about whether you need a second shot.
Pertussis (also called whooping cough) can increase the risk of having a COPD flare-up.8 So making sure you are current on your pertussis vaccinations may help control COPD.