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COPD: Avoiding Your Triggers


Table of Contents


Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.   COPD: Avoiding Your Triggers

You can do things at home to manage COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). By learning the triggers for COPD and avoiding them, you can help reduce flare-ups. While some triggers may be out of your control, there are others you can easily avoid.

Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  What are common triggers for COPD?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Why is it important to avoid triggers for COPD?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  How can you avoid triggers?
Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition.  Where to go from here

What? - What is the medical information or key concepts related to the action?  What are common triggers for COPD?

A trigger is anything that causes your COPD symptoms to flare up or get worse. Triggers include:

Not all people have the same triggers. What may cause a flare-up in one person may not be a problem for another person.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Getting sick with the flu can trigger a flare-up of COPD symptoms.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      Getting sick with colds, the flu, or pneumonia can cause your COPD symptoms to flare up or get worse.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      Getting sick with colds, the flu, or pneumonia can cause your COPD symptoms to flare up or get worse.


  2. Flare-ups of COPD symptoms are caused by the same things for everyone.

    1. True

      This answer is incorrect.

      Not all people have the same triggers. What may cause a flare-up in one person may not be a problem for another person.

    2. False

      This answer is correct.

      Not all people have the same triggers. What may cause a flare-up in one person may not be a problem for another person.


Why? - Why the action is important?  Why is it important to avoid triggers for COPD?

Flare-ups of COPD can greatly limit your activities. You may even need to stay in the hospital. By avoiding flare-ups, you may feel better, be more active, and reduce the impact of COPD on your life.

So it is important to pay attention to your symptoms. You can tell you're having a flare-up when your usual symptoms suddenly get worse. For example:

With treatment, many people are able to breathe as well as they did before a flare-up.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Avoiding triggers of a flare-up can help you stay out of the hospital.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      When you have a flare-up, you may need to be treated in a hospital until you can breathe better on your own. So it's best to avoid anything that triggers a flare-up.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      When you have a flare-up, you may need to be treated in a hospital until you can breathe better on your own. So it's best to avoid anything that triggers a flare-up.


  2. A fever may be a sign of a COPD flare-up.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      It is important to pay attention to your symptoms. You can tell you're having a flare-up when your usual symptoms suddenly get worse. This may include a fever.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      It is important to pay attention to your symptoms. You can tell you're having a flare-up when your usual symptoms suddenly get worse. This may include a fever.


How? - Learn the steps involved in taking action.  How can you avoid triggers?

There are many things you can do to avoid triggers and stay as healthy as you can.

Avoid triggers in the air

Protect your health

Test Your Knowledge

  1. It is okay for me to be around other people who smoke, as long as I don't smoke.

    1. True

      This answer is incorrect.

      It is important to stay away from anything that causes your COPD symptoms to flare up or get worse. This includes staying away from other people who are smoking.

    2. False

      This answer is correct.

      It is important to stay away from anything that causes your COPD symptoms to flare up or get worse. This includes staying away from other people who are smoking.


  2. Getting a flu vaccine can help me avoid one of the triggers of COPD.

    1. True

      This answer is correct.

      The flu can cause your COPD symptoms to flare up. Getting a flu vaccine can help you avoid this trigger.

    2. False

      This answer is incorrect.

      The flu can cause your COPD symptoms to flare up. Getting a flu vaccine can help you avoid this trigger.


Where? - Other resources and organizations that can help you take action.  Where to go from here

Now that you have read this information, you are ready to start identifying and avoiding triggers for COPD.

Talk with your doctor

If you have questions about this information, print it out and take it with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to use a highlighter to mark areas or make notes in the margins of pages where you have questions.

Be sure to let your doctor know if you notice changes in your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about what might be triggers for you. Ask about ways you can avoid those triggers.

If you would like more information on COPD, the following resources are available:

Online Resource

Smokefree.gov
Smokefree.gov
Web Address: www.smokefree.gov
 

This Web site was created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute with important contributions from other national agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society. It offers an online guide to quitting smoking, including online messaging and telephone support from the National Cancer Institute.


Credits for COPD: Avoiding Your Triggers

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Last Revised February 19, 2013

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