Senior Couple Preparing Dinner

The holidays are full of traditions and, often, indulgences. When you have COPD, some of these can be harmful to your health. For a healthier holiday season, here are a few things you should avoid.

  1. Don’t eat large quantities of food at one time. Oxygen and food are the main ingredients for metabolism, which creates energy and carbon dioxide. Getting the right mix of nutrients when you eat can actually help you breathe easier. If you eat too much, it may make it harder to breathe. Talk to you doctor or a dietitian about a diet that will help support your breathing.
  2. Limit salty foods. Consuming too much sodium can increase your blood pressure by causing edema (swelling) in the body. Instead of using salt to season foods, try herbs and spices. Be careful of hidden salts, like foods cooked with fatback or shortening and foods that are fried.
  3. Keep alcohol drinking to a minimum. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol leads to decreased lung functions in patients with lung disease. In addition, alcohol can reduce the body’s ability to clear mucus from the airways. Alcohol also interferes with the effectiveness of many medications, including steroids and antibiotics.
  4. Stay away from people who are smoking, including e-cigarettes. Cigarette and e-cigarette smoke are very harmful to people with COPD. Avoid any situations where you might be exposed.
  5. Avoid crowds of people and people you don’t see on a regular basis. In addition to COIVD-19, there are other airborne viruses and bacteria that can be very serious for people with COPD, like the flu and pneumonia. By practicing social distancing, you decrease your chance of exposure to these illnesses. You should also wash your hands frequently, disinfect high touch surfaces, and avoid anyone who might be sick, even if they are close family.