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COPD triggers are often hiding in plain sight. From the temperature in the air to the perfume you wear, COPD can be triggered from pesky irritants that surround us every day. They can make you cough, wheeze and have more shortness of breath than usual.

Learn how to avoid the triggers that can make your COPD worse.

Cigarette Smoke

Quitting smoking is the number one thing you can do to prevent COPD from getting worse. Also avoid second-hand smoke. Any kind of tobacco smoke can affect your lungs.

Do you want to stop smoking and need help? Learn more about smoking cessation classes in your area or call 410-553-8103.

Extreme Temperatures

High humidity as well as extreme cold and extreme hot temperatures can take a toll on your lungs. Limit your time outdoors when the temperature is very high or low and humidity is high. If you must go outside in cold weather, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf.

Air Pollution

Car and gas pump fumes, smoke from the fireplace and cooking fumes and smells can all be triggers. Avoid being near them when possible, and make sure your house is well ventilated. Always check outdoor air quality levels before leaving the house.


Pet dander, dust, mold and pollen can make your COPD worse. Vacuum daily to reduce dust and dander (tiny flecks of skin shed by animals with fur or feathers). Get rid of clutter and dust furniture often. On days when the pollen count is high, usually spring and fall, limit the time you are outdoors.

Chemicals and Sprays

Cleaning products and paints can irritate COPD, as can perfumes, hair sprays, scented candles and air fresheners. Use non-toxic, natural cleaning products and skip the scented body products if they trigger a reaction.

Knowing your COPD triggers and then avoiding them will help you feel better and have more energy to do the things you enjoy all year round.