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Prevention and daily care of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Smokers should stop smoking. Non-smokers should avoid regular breathing in second-hand smoke.
  • Take note of occupational safety. Avoid long-term exposure to smoke and chemicals. For example, wear a mask if you are exposed to smoke at work.
  • Avoid outdoor activities on days when air quality is poor or when air pollution is serious.

Smoke free life

Smoking is a major cause of COPD. Smokers should stop smoking promptly. This will greatly delay the worsening of conditions. If needed, patients may seek counselling or medications to start a smoke free life. Exposure to second-hand smoke should also be avoided.

Regular check-up and use of medications as prescribed

Follow doctors’ advice when using medications. Visit your doctor regularly for check-up.

Take note of air quality

Keep indoor areas well ventilated and keep the air fresh. Avoid any exposure to gas or dust particles that irritate the lungs or are toxic. Have fewer outdoor activities when air pollution is serious or when the air is clouded. Use cooking methods that generate fewer fumes, reducing irritation to the airways.   

Prevent respiratory tract diseases

Receive influenza and pneumococcal vaccines regularly. See a doctor at once for any respiratory tract diseases.

Regular physical activity

An appropriate amount of physical activity improves strength and stamina. This varies from person to person. Seek advice from doctors and physiotherapists if needed.

Healthy diet

Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit and less stimulating food (e.g. very cold or hot food). This helps prevent cough caused by throat irritation. A low-salt, low-fat and high-fibre diet places a smaller burden on the heart and kidneys, and strengthens the lungs.

Breathing training

Patients usually take quick but shallow breaths. This does not help their conditions. They need to learn to breathe properly with the diaphragm and pursed lips, reducing breathing frequency and increasing tidal volume. This improves the transportation of oxygen in the arteries and helps patients control shortness of breath.