Tips for Protecting Against Viral Respiratory Illnesses

Woman washing hands under running water

As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to provide updates on recent breakthroughs in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s important to understand the factors that may put us, or someone we care for, at greater risk of respiratory illness. Having this knowledge will help in creating a personal prevention plan that protects both you and your loved one’s health and wellbeing.

Chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis, may put people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.[1] However, there are precautionary steps individuals can take to help reduce their risk:

1.) Stay at Home: If you have a preexisting respiratory condition, it’s essential that you follow all local and state prevention guidelines, which may include staying at home to avoid public areas, where you risk coming into contact with COVID-19 or other contagious respiratory diseases. If you are caring for a loved one with COPD or bronchiectasis, you may be shopping and running errands for this individual. Be sure to wear a face mask[2] while in higher populated areas to decrease the risk of transmitting airborne illnesses.

 

2.) Wash Your Hands: Throughout this entire pandemic, one essential prevention tip has remained the same: wash your hands frequently with soap and water and avoid touching your face.[3] Be sure to also clean and disinfect commonly used areas, as well, to help prevent the spread of bacteria.[4]

 

3.) Avoid Triggers: As you would normally, remember to avoid certain triggers that may intensify your COPD symptoms, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust, fumes, and other irritants that may obstruct your lungs, make breathing more difficult, or cause a respiratory infection.[5]

 

4.) Continue Medication as Directed: According to the American Lung Association, “It is important to continue taking your controller medications for asthma, COPD and other lung diseases.”[6] Experts recommend that you request a higher quantity of your prescription from your local pharmacist[7] or have your medication delivered via mail to avoid unnecessary trips to populated areas.

 

5.) Perform Prescribed Airway Clearance Therapy: In addition to taking your prescribed medication, an essential part of protecting your lungs is airway clearance therapy. High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy, like the SmartVest, offers an effective, easy-to-manage (and monitor) treatment option. The device works by delivering repeated pulses of air that gently squeeze and release the upper body, helping to loosen mucus and propel it toward your larger airways, where it’s easier to cough out. Performing airway clearance therapy at home will help you prevent the cycle of infection and keep you feeling your best.

Woman on couch using her SmartVest Airway Clearance System


[1] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “People Who Are At Higher Risk for Severe Illness.” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html

[2] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19.” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

[3] COPD News Today. “Information about COVID-19 for COPD Patients.” Retrieved from https://copdnewstoday.com/information-about-covid-19-for-copd-patients/

[4] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “How to Protect Yourself and Others.” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

[5] The Mayo Clinic. “COPD.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/symptoms-causes/syc-20353679

[6] American Lung Association. “Top Story: COVID-19.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/blog/update-covid-19

[7] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “People Who Are At Higher Risk for Severe Illness.” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html

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