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COVID-19: How Does It Affect People With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing hard. It can turn fatal if not properly treated. Smoking and exposure to air pollution are considered as some of the main causes of COPD.

Some of the most common symptoms of COPD are non-stop cough, breathing trouble, excess production of mucus, frequent wheezing, tiredness, sudden weight loss and discolouration of the skin. If left untreated, it might lead to other serious health problems like severe lung damage, hypertension and heart problems [1][2].

Studies have explored the link between COVID-19 and COPD, and have found that the COVID-19 virus, which may lead to mild to severe respiratory problems poses a higher risk for people with COPD, due to their existing lung problems [3].

WHO Hand Sanitiser Formula Can Disable Coronavirus

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People With COPD Are At A Higher Risk Of COVID-19 Complications

Individuals suffering from COPD may have a higher risk of COVID-19 complications as the virus affects the respiratory system [4]. Researchers point out that the existing lung damage (caused by COPD) makes it difficult for the body to fight off new infections.

As per the findings of the seven different studies on coronavirus infection and COPD, it was found that people with COPD are indeed at a higher risk of developing severe complications' which can be seen in the report of overall case fatality rate of people from COVID-19, who have COPD.

The results showed that the death rate of people with COPD was 6.3 per cent, while the overall death rate from COVID-19 was 2.3 per cent [5].

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People With COPD Should Take Extra Precautions

Researchers and health experts assert that people with COPD should keep at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication [6]. Here is a list of extra precautions people with COPD should take during the COVID-19 pandemic [7]:

  • Apart from hospital visits, stay at home.
  • While going out, stay 6 feet away from others.
  • After being in a public place, wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid contact with others wherever possible.
  • Avoid touching the face with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, then discard tissues safely.
  • Avoid smoking as it can help strengthen the respiratory system against COVID-19.

Discuss with your doctor regarding the ways to manage the COPD symptoms during the COVID-19 outbreak. Eating a healthy diet and drinking water can help support the body and remove excess mucus from the lungs [8].

Individuals can treat mild symptoms at home by following their usual COPD treatment plan and carefully monitoring the symptoms. Also, if an individual with COPD starts showing the following symptoms, immediately seek medical help [9][10]:

  • Persistent pressure or pain in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lips or face turn bluish
  • Confusion
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On A Final Note…

The CDC has advised people with COPD to not stop taking their treatments, including corticosteroids, so as to prevent the complications. People with COPD should take extra precautions to help prevent themselves from contracting the coronavirus. Stay home, eat healthily and keep your surroundings clean.