COPD Fact vs Myth Module

Fact or Myth

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After years of smoking, there's no point quitting. The damage is already done.

Only smokers get COPD.

You can skip your flu vaccination if you're using COPD medications.

Anxiety and stress can affect your breathing.

You should save your maintenance medication for when your COPD symptoms get really serious.

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This is a myth.

This is a fact.

It's a myth that after years of smoking, there's no point quitting.

Smoking is the main trigger for chronic COPD symptoms and flare-ups. Your best way to prevent COPD symptoms and flare-ups is to quit smoking.

Second-hand smoke can also trigger COPD flare-ups. Protect yourself by having a smoke-free home, car, and work area. Avoid smoke-filled places.

If you still smoke, you may have already tried several times to quit. This is normal. Most ex-smokers tried quitting many times before quitting for good.

The most successful ways to quit smoking combine counselling with nicotine replacement therapy or smoking cessation medications.

Ask your doctor about effective programs that can help you quit. The sooner you quit, the sooner you will prevent further damage to your lungs, reduce the risk of COPD flare-ups, and slow down the disease.

The results of quitting are very much worth your efforts.

It's a myth that only smokers get COPD.

Although smoking causes over 80% of COPD cases, second-hand smoke, wood smoke, and chemical fumes can also cause COPD.

It's a myth that you can skip your flu vaccination if you're taking COPD medications.

COPD medication does not protect you from viral infections such as the flu. Vaccinations are your best protection against the flu. The Canadian Lung Association recommends that most people with COPD receive a flu vaccine every year.

The flu vaccine is usually available at medical clinics and certain pharmacies in the fall. Ask your healthcare professional for more information.

It's a fact that emotional upsets and anxiety can affect your breathing.

Relaxing and controlling stress can help reduce your shortness of breath.

Knowing how to control your breathing will help you stay calm when you're short of breath.

It's a myth that your maintenance medication should be saved for when your COPD symptoms gets really serious.

COPD maintenance medications are COPD treatments taken regularly to help keep the disease under control. COPD is a chronic condition without a cure. Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, do not stop using your maintenance medication - even if you feel better.

If you feel your COPD is getting worse or you are experiencing the symptoms of a flare-up (COPD exacerbation), follow your COPD Action PlanTM, and let your doctor know. Your maintenance medication may need to be adjusted.