July 22, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille


Those diagnosed with COPD have needed to remain especially vigilant since the COVID-19 pandemic started, because they are likely at both a greater risk for contracting the virus and for developing more severe complications. A recently available study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that people with COPD were more likely to be admitted into the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease.

Even though the CDC gives strategies for all of us, as well as individuals diagnosed with COPD, in order to prevent contracting the illness, such as regular handwashing, social distancing, and staying home whenever possible, one recommendation is particularly a challenge for an individual with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association suggests that people who have COPD try an assortment of different types of coverings to find one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the home for brief amounts of time to become more familiar with the feeling.

Additional suggestions include:

  • Continue to take care of your COPD as recommended by the physician, with modifications to limit your exposure to other people, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
  • Boost your body’s defense system with a healthy eating plan and lots of rest, and make certain to follow the doctor’s recommended treatment plan.
  • Take proper care of your emotional health to lower stress and anxiety. Switch off the social media and the news and take part in relaxing and enjoyable activities instead. And make sure to talk to a mental health professional as needed for assistance with managing stress and combating depression.

Of particular significance for those with COPD is the need for regular exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, due to the fact that COPD causes shortness of breath, doing exercises is particularly challenging. He, along with the Respiratory Health Association, suggest (with doctor’s approval):

  • Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day, at least 3 times every week.
  • Try leg lifts, marching in position, and arm circles, making use of canned goods or small weights.
  • Go up and down stairs
  • Incorporate yoga breathing exercises.

These resources offer more useful information specific to COPD matters during the COVID-19 pandemic:

For reliable in-home care for those diagnosed with COPD as well as other chronic conditions, get in touch with At Home Independent Living. Our staff are professionally trained and experienced in providing individualized care to help make life safer and more enjoyable. You may reach us any time at (315) 579-HOME (4663).