Staying active and healthy during the summer months can be difficult. With soaring temperatures and holiday temptations, it can be hard to maintain your regular habits. But it is important that you continue to prioritise your physical and mental wellbeing and take steps to manage your bronchiectasis.
Though there is no cure for bronchiectasis, maintaining good general health, using airway clearance techniques, regular exercise, and being consistent with treatments prescribed by your doctor are all ways that can help you live well. Here are some handy tips to help you manage your condition during the summer months and beyond:
Clear your chest – every day to lower the risk of flare-ups. Clearing mucus reduces the chance of bacterial infection. While some people may find it easier to clear their lungs in the shower or while walking, others may need specialised breathing techniques. A physiotherapist trained in airway-clearance techniques can help develop a daily routine. This may include tailored breathing exercises plus positive expiratory pressure devices, inhaling saline via a nebuliser, different positioning to open the airways and a prescribed exercise program.
Stay active – daily exercise is hugely beneficial to help maintain your fitness, improve your wellbeing and reduce symptoms. It may also assist in clearing mucous secretions. You can read more about exercise programs, including pulmonary rehabilitation and Lungs in Action, and our at-home exercise series, here.
Eat well and stay hydrated – Healthy foods and drinking enough water to stay well hydrated can help you to function at your best. Nourishing foods and fluids provide the body with the energy, vitamins, and minerals it needs to deal with the increased work of breathing associated with the condition. Staying well hydrated can help make it easier to clear mucus secretions. Drink water regularly throughout the day, do not wait until you are thirsty. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of a referral to a dietitian to receive individual nutritional education.
Quitting smoking – is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Simply believing you can quit means you are on your way. Quitting will be tough but hugely beneficial – it will help you with your symptoms and potentially stop your condition getting worse. It will also improve your quality of life. The most effective way to quit is to enlist ongoing support from a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. They may use a combination of counselling and medication, which can dramatically boost your chances of success. Find more information on how to quit here.
Emotional wellbeing – is an important aspect of managing your condition, as research has shown that mental health can have a significant impact on physical health. It is important not to neglect your mental wellbeing when facing the physical challenges of a lung condition. Take time out to practice self-care, consider connecting with others through a peer support group, and have regular discussions with your treating healthcare team about your mental health. Find information and resources to support your emotional wellbeing, here.
Avoid air pollutants – such as bushfire smoke. The risk of bushfires and bushfire smoke increases significantly during the summer season. It is important that if you are living with a lung condition, that you remain vigilant and take additional precautions. If you are on medication, be sure that you are taking it as prescribed and check in with your doctor to work out if you need to change to other forms of treatment during this time. Remember to refer to your action plan and recognise when your symptoms worsen or change and be aware of what action you need to take to manage it. For more information about looking after your lungs during bushfire season, click here. If you need to have an action plan completed with your doctor, you can download one here.
Respiratory Care Nurse
Our free and confidential Respiratory Care Nurse telephone service is available for people living with a chronic lung condition such as bronchiectasis. This telephone service offers three telephone appointments with our skilled nurse over a 4 to 6 month period. The service aims to provide you with evidence-based information and support to help you self-manage your condition.