With the holiday season just around the corner, you may be travelling away from home to visit family or friends, indulging in festive food and drinks and experiencing other disruptions to your day-to-day routine. For someone living with a lung condition, these changes can impact on your health, resulting in a flare up in your symptoms and increased breathlessness.
The rising temperatures, wet weather and increased humidity can impact on the severity of your symptoms too. If you’re living with or caring for someone with a lung condition, it can help to take some time to plan ahead to ensure you can all make the most of the Christmas cheer.
Have medicines on hand
Make sure you have an adequate supply of your daily medicines as well as any emergency medicines readily available to get you through the holiday period. Monitor your symptoms and have a plan in place if your condition worsens. Keep after-hours details for your healthcare team or specialist on hand.
We all know drinking water is important for our health, but when your daily routine is interrupted it can be easy to forget. It may help to avoid drinks that increase dehydration like alcohol, tea and coffee. Foods high in water content such as fruits and salads, and smaller, cooler meals can help too. Focus on foods that are easily digestible, low in fat and contain carbohydrates and protein. It’s important to discuss with your doctor the appropriate amount for your condition as some people may be on fluid restrictions.
Keep an eye on the weather
During bushfire season, it’s important you look after yourself and be aware of extra pollutants in the air. Where possible, in areas affected by bush fires and smoke, people with poor lung health should stay indoors when smoke is thick. Keep windows and doors closed and use air conditioning on the recycle mode. You can find out more, including tips to prevent inhalation of smoke, here.
Whether it’s a short road trip or a long flight, travel can take its toll on your body. If you’re living with or caring for someone with a lung condition, there may be additional considerations such as portable oxygen and regular medications. Where possible, allow extra travel time and plan ahead for regular breaks.
Remember to stay safe in the sun. Avoid going outside between 11am and 3pm and aim to do activities such as gardening, exercise and housework in the cooler parts of the day. Wear light-coloured and loose-fitting clothes, wide brim hats, sunscreen and sunglasses.
Relax and unwind
Holidays can be busy and sometimes stress can take hold. Remember, you don’t need to do everything on your to-do list in one day. Work out which tasks are a priority, and work through them one at a time, taking breaks to recover where needed to maximise your energy levels. It’s ok to ask for help from friends or family to lighten the load. Simple things like deep breathing exercises can also help you relax.