If you have emphysema or chronic bronchitis, you know how miserable it feels when you catch a cold. After all, breathing is difficult enough with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Not only does catching a cold worsen your ability to breathe and be active, but the cold virus increases your chance of getting a more serious respiratory tract infection. Here's what you should know to stay well.
Don't panic if
you start to have a flare-up. If you are prepared, you may be able to get it
under control. Work with your doctor to make a plan for dealing with a COPD
Take your medicines as your doctor says:
First, use your quick-relief inhaler. If your symptoms don't get better after you use your medicine,
have someone take you to the emergency room. Call an ambulance if
With inhaled medicines, a spacer or a nebulizer may help you get more medicine to your lungs. Ask your doctor
or pharmacist how to use them properly. Practice using the spacer in front of a
mirror before you have a flare-up. This may help you get the medicine into your
If your doctor has given you steroid pills, take them as directed.