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How You Can Help Prevent COPD Exacerbations When shortness of breath and other COPD symptoms get worse over a short period of time, it is called an exacerbation. It can take a long time to recover from a COPD exacerbation. Sometimes exacerbations cause a decline in lung function that is permanent. You can help prevent exacerbations and maintain your lung health! Here are some simple steps you can take: www.goldcopd.org 1. Many exacerbations are caused by respiratory infections. Get a pneumococcal vaccine and yearly flu vaccinations. Wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and practice good hygiene to reduce your chance of catching a respiratory infection. 2. Other exacerbations are caused by air pollution. Stop smoking. Stay away from secondhand smoke. Stay indoors and close windows on bad air pollution days. 3. Take your medicines according to the doctor’s instructions. Make sure you understand how to use your inhaler. 4. Keep your body strong. Walk, exercise regularly, and eat healthy foods. 5. Know what to do if your breathing gets worse. If an exacerbation does develop, get treatment immediately to help minimize its effects. World COPD Day 2011 is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (www.goldcopd.org).
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