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Protecting Yourself from the Flu

When you have lung disease, it is especially important to protect yourself from colds and flu. Your lungs are your body's first line of defense for all you breathe in, so it's no wonder that compromised lungs have such a hard time with germs. The following tips might sound simple, but someone once said, The problem with common sense is that it ain't all that common. Take these steps to avoid the flu virus from latching on to you.

Wash your hands

Most germs are spread by hand-to-mouth contact. Mild soap and warm water are cheap and very effective in getting those germs off of you and sending them down the drain! Lather for 10-15 seconds and rinse well.

Use a hand sanitizer and / or avoid contact

Carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer with you when it's not convenient to wash your hands. Pay attention to what you're touching, especially door handles or the push bar of the grocery cart. Wear gloves or put a cloth over the handle when you have to touch something that everybody else has been touching.

Get a flu shot every year

Get a pneumonia shot

Check with your doctor how often you need this.

Avoid exposure to respiratory infections

Do your best to stay clear of people who are sneezing and coughing. Small children tend to not cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze and cough. At family gatherings enjoy the sneezing kids at a distance.

Filter your air

If you must travel by air, consider wearing a filtering facemask through most of the flight. Check with your local oxygen provider to find the right mask for you. This mask can also be used to prevent the cold outside air from triggering airway spasms.

Pay attention to symptoms! Call your doctor if you develop any of the following:

•  Increased shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing

•  Increased mucous production, or a change in the color of your phlegm. Your mucous should be clear or white yellow or green is a sign of infection.

•  Fever or chills

•  Sore throat or hoarseness

•  Fatigue

•  Swollen ankles or a weight gain of 3-5 pounds in one day


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