Doctors from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are urging people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to understand how to manage their symptoms as the weather gets cold.
Over 900,000 people in the UK are currently living with COPD, and it can make winter a struggle. Cold temperatures and sudden changes in weather can make it harder to breathe and trigger symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
For people who are affected by COPD, or who care for a loved one who is, it’s important to know how to manage symptoms in the warmer months by following basic precautions.
Dr James Ogle said “Asthma and COPD both affect the breathing and the cold weather can make things more difficult for sufferers. But there are some things that you can do to help prevent your condition getting worse. If you go out, keep warm, use a scarf to breathe cold air through and breathe through your nose, as well as making sure you take your reliever inhaler with you (usually the blue one), and that you know how to use it properly. If you’re not sure how to use it, your pharmacist GP or Nurse can check and advise you on technique.
Finally, make sure you have at least an annual check-up with your GP practice and that you put an asthma/COPD plan in place, which will tell you what to do if your symptoms worsen.”
If a patient needs immediate medical advice when their GP practice is closed, but it’s not a 999 emergency they are advised to call NHS 111. They can offer advice and guidance to support the patient to care for their condition at home or refer them on to the right service and care that best suits them. This may be a home visit from a clinician, or they might make an appointment for the patient at their local urgent care centre or primary care hub, as well as one of the four health care hubs in Leicester City. If it is an emergency, they can also dispatch an ambulance.