COPD Symptoms Can Be Worse in Winter


Cindy Kuzma

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Temperatures drop. Snow falls. Sidewalks freeze. But if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there's likely another fact of winter: Your disease flares.

Exacerbations, or periods when your coughing and other symptoms are worse, tend to be more common and severe in cold weather. Between the months of November and February, you're more likely to:

  • Visit the doctor or hospital

  • Feel anxious or depressed because of your disease

  • Have trouble doing your daily activities

Why Winter's Chill Brings Challenges

More colds, flus, and other respiratory viruses make the rounds in cold weather. When you have COPD, you're more prone to these illnesses, which can cause your symptoms to quickly worsen.

Dr. Katina Nicolackis, pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, explains the importance of quitting smoking, medications and oxygen in managing COPD.

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