If your loved one is living with bronchiectasis, there are many ways you can help manage its symptoms to prevent the condition from worsening. Bronchiectasis is caused by an underlying condition that may include respiratory infections, immunodeficiency disorders, an allergic reaction to the fungus Aspergillus (ABPA), or genetic disorders. This type of impaired breathing condition affects everyone differently, but your loved one may experience flare ups— also known as exacerbations—from time to time that can temporarily worsen symptoms.
By taking an active role in your loved one’s bronchiectasis management, you can help reduce exposure to bacteria and other harmful factors, as well as recognize the early signs of a chest infection to avoid further damage to the lungs.
According to Bronchiectasis News Today, to reduce the risk of contracting pneumonia, be sure you and your loved one are up-to-date on all flu vaccines. Remember that patients living with bronchiectasis are more susceptible to infections, so if you do become ill from a cold or flu, you’ll want to keep your distance, so you can limit the exposure of the infection.
In addition, washing your hands regularly helps kill harmful bacteria and prevents germs from spreading. Clearing your home of indoor air pollutants and dust is another effective way to reduce airborne germs and decrease the risk of a chest infection from infecting an individual with bronchiectasis.
With bronchiectasis, a patient’s airways are repeatedly damaged, causing the lungs to slowly lose their ability to mobilize and clear mucus. This makes it easier for bacteria to infect a person’s lungs, and over time, weaken the person’s ability to move air in and out.
Recognizing the signs of a lung infection is essential to helping your loved one find treatment. According to the Lung Institute, high fever, chills, chest pains, headaches, and changes in mucus color and consistency are all common signs of a lung infection. When you notice these signs, be sure to contact a health care provider.
According to The British Lung Foundation, having support from friends and family is essential to providing the best care to someone living with bronchiectasis. From listening to your loved one’s needs to sharing words of encouragement, it’s important to remind patients who have an impaired breathing condition that they are not alone.