COPD and Respiratory Diseases
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 infections and face an increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, according to the American Lung Association and recent studies. Have you been diagnosed with COPD or another respiratory disease? Read our answers to some frequently asked questions below, or ask your questions to our nursing team in the yellow chat box at the bottom right of your screen.
Frequently asked questions
- I have COPD (or other respiratory illnesses). Can I get COVID?
According to the CDC, if you have COPD or other chronic lung diseases, you have an increased risk of getting COVID-19. This does not mean that you will get COVID-19, but that you have a greater chance of getting it than if you did not have COPD or other chronic lung diseases.
To reduce your risk of getting COVID-19, here are three simple things you can do:
Wear a cloth mask
Practice physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others
Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
- Is it safe to continue using my nebulizer at home for inhaled medications?
According to the American Lung Association, it is safe to use your nebulizer. However, if you have suspected or are diagnosed with COVID-19, use your nebulizer in a more secluded area of your home, such as outside on a porch or patio or in a garage, because “the virus may persist in droplets in the air for 1-2 hours”. Choose an area where air is not recirculated into your home and dependent surfaces can be easier to clean or may not need cleaning.
- I have difficulty breathing when wearing a mask. What should I do?
If you have COPD or other chronic lung disease, you are at higher risk for worse outcomes if you become sick with COVID-19. As much as possible, it’s best to remain home and practice social distancing from others to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19. If you do have to go out, please wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
The American Lung Association has produced a useful infographic to help you get used to wearing a cloth face covering in public.
Here are 7 more tips for wearing a mask:
- I’m on supplemental oxygen. What is the best way to care and clean for this equipment?
Caring and cleaning your oxygen equipment is very important. With the proper care and cleaning of your oxygen equipment, you can help prevent infection and other issues with getting the right amount of oxygen to your airways. This care should only take a few minutes a week, but can make a big difference in your quality of life.
Here is some very useful, practical advice on caring and cleaning your oxygen equipment, including your mask, tubing, humidifier bottles, and concentrators.
If oxygen therapy has been recommended to you, but you still have some doubts, take a look at this infographic dispelling some commonly held myths:
- What can I do at home for pulmonary rehabilitation?
Unfortunately, many pulmonary groups have had to suspend programs during this COVID period. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop being physically active! Check out these daily exercises and follow along to the video here.
There are many benefits to staying physically active. Since everyone’s different, please speak with your doctor about finding the right level of fitness activity for you. If you don’t have a doctor, many pharmacists have health clinics that can provide you affordable and easy access to a healthcare provider.
- I am a COPD patient and I can’t afford to fill my prescription. What can I do?
Fortunately, there are resources available that can be of help! Needymeds.org is a website that has information on medication assistance and patient assistance programs.
There may be charitable healthcare providers or hospitals in your area. Search “charity hospitals near me” to locate them.
Or, you can go to the website of the pharmaceutical that produces your medication to get assistance. For example, if you take Anoro™ Ellipta™, you can go to gskforyou.com.