Before we know it the flu season and holidays will be here again- here are a few things we can do to avoid Infections and exacerbations now and at any time.
First of all let's cover infection control. Most of us know a few of the things we must do to avoid infections or re- infecting yourself but reminders are a good thing!
1. First and foremost is- If you Nebulize make sure you clean your equipment
2. Change your O2 cannula more frequently if at all possible.
3. If you have a c-pap or bi-pap machine make sure you clean it according to manufacturer's recommendations. With mine you clean the mask and filter daily and the hose weekly. But if you have an infection I would recommend cleaning the hose daily as well! I just hook it up once cleaned and turn it on- it only takes a couple of minutes to "blow dry"
4. Do you use a straw to drink your liquids from? Change your straw daily.
5. Your Toothbrush- try to change your toothbrush after every infection. If this is not possible soak it for awhile in a 1/2 water 1/2 peroxide mix for at least 15 min and then rinse well.
6. And of course make sure your bed linens are changed more frequently and make sure you use all the infection precautions that we have been taught from childhood on up! Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Our rehab is teaching us to use the back of our lower arm instead of hand.That way we won't accidently contaminate something else with our hands.
7. Get your flu and pneumonia shots as needed and do try to avoid as many
germs as you can!
8. Keep plenty of anti bacterial hand cleaner on hand. Carry some in your bag or purse for use when away from home as well. You can use it on the handle of your grocery carts or wherever you need it.
9. Wear a mask if you are going to go out into crowds that you can't avoid. Or if you have to go to the emergency room. The ER is one place that germs of all kinds flourish.
Now most infections are considered an exacerbation or flare up of our COPD but an exacerbation does not have to be an infection. You can have an flare up from inhaling an irritant...some kinds of chemicals that disagree with your lungs...smoke whether it is cigarette, wood, or other types of fire. So we have to take precautions there as well. Not everyone of course is going to be bothered by the same things. But we will all be bothered about something that is specific to us.