My Chest and Me

My Chest and Me

Winter is that time of the year when our chests can get more affected especially when you have a pre-existing condition.  We have all been in the situation where we visit family over the festive season and someone has a cold.

People with chronic chest conditions like COPD, Asthma, Emphysema, Bronchiectasis, Cystic fibrosis and even lung cancer are more likely to be affected by a cold or flu.  The airways adjust to changing temperatures, seasons and air borne particles.  In most cases, people with a chest condition suffer with breathlessness and/or coughing.  The airways contract and open up as we breathe and at times, more mucus can accumulate.  When we get a cold, the excess mucus can lead to an increased risk of chest infections and even pneumonia.

It is vital that the chest is kept as clear as possible by removing as much secretions as possible.  There are various ways in which to rid the chest of secretions.  Your GP, practice nurse or chest consultant will advise you on how to manage your chest condition.  They will also advise if you need further investigations or other treatments but it is important to know that YOU need to manage your condition.

Simple advice to follow especially during the winter months are:

  • Know what the symptoms are for possible chest infections and recognize any changes
  • Act immediately if you suspect you have an infection
  • Use your inhalers regularly and do not stop/start inhalers
  • Do deep breathing exercises and cough regularly to remove secretions
  • Walk regularly
  • Use oxygen only as prescribed
  • Discuss with your GP about a “rescue pack”
  • Stay away from family and friends if you know they have a cold

Remember that each person has a unique condition and that management of your chest condition needs to be tailored for you.  Your physiotherapist can help to teach you breathing techniques, secretion clearance and inhaler techniques to optimize your breathing and maintaining a clear chest.  Please speak to one of the physios at Silver physio for more information on 020 3637 8988 to enable a personalized programme to be created.