How should COPD patients be protected from COVID-19?

The third Wednesday of November every year is known as World COPD Day. On November 18 this year, attention is drawn to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is the fourth cause of death in the world and is a priority public health.

In epidemiological studies carried out in Turkey is 10 percent of COPD prevalence, people over age 40 who smoke and in this ratio indicates that up to 18-20 percent Anadolu Medical Center Chest Diseases Specialist Dr. Esra Sönmez said, “Studies have shown that the risk of developing lung complications from COVID-19 infection is higher in COPD patients than in healthy individuals. Therefore, it is very important for COPD patients to comply with prevention measures in order not to get sick during the pandemic process. However, it should be emphasized that it is not correct to avoid applying to health institutions even if there is a need for protection measures ”.

Anadolu Medical Center Chest Diseases Specialist, who said that the most important cause of exacerbation of COPD is respiratory system infections. Esra Sönmez said, “In COPD, both the destruction of the protective barriers in the bronchial walls and the damage to the lung tissue make the person more vulnerable to infections and the healing process of developing infections is longer. COVID-19 studies have shown that the presence of COPD is an important risk factor for the more severe and more fatal course of COVID-19 infection. In studies, mortality rates in patients with COPD who are over the age of 45 and smoking are 55-60 percent, ”he said.

Emphasizing that COPD patients hesitate to apply to health institutions during the pandemic process like many chronic patients and disrupt their regular follow-up and treatment. Esra Sönmez said, “During periods of exacerbation, patients applied to hospitals with more severe pictures due to reasons such as late admissions to the hospital, not being able to use the drugs (bronchodilators) that allow them to get more oxygen by expanding the bronchi.

COPD patients must fully comply with prevention methods

Underlining that COPD patients should fully comply with all prevention methods applicable to other healthy individuals, Chest Diseases Specialist Dr. Esra Sönmez said, “Our patients should not leave the house unless they are very obliged, they should not accept visitors, family members who have to go out of the house should take care of protection and wash their hands meticulously when they return home. If all individuals frequently clean their hands with antiseptics and cologne containing 80 percent alcohol, it reduces the risk of contamination. Shaking hands, hugging, kissing with our relatives should be completely abandoned. "If any signs of infection develop in family members in the home, they should stay away from the patient until they recover," he said.

Care should be taken to strengthen the immune system

Reminding that COPD patients must use masks and stay away from the crowd if they have to leave the house. Esra Sönmez said, “COPD patients should maintain a safe distance from people and return home as soon as possible by contacting the least number of people. COPD patients who continue to smoke should stop smoking as soon as possible. It is very important to have a strong immune system in fighting infections; Therefore, attention should be paid to basic elements such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, regular and adequate sleep that increase immunity ”.

COPD drugs are increased during the exacerbation process

Stating that the basis of the treatment of exacerbation in COPD is the treatment of the factor that causes exacerbation, Dr. Esra Sönmez said, “If COVID-19 infection is the cause of COPD exacerbation, COVID-19 treatment is applied. If a bacterial secondary infection is considered, antibacterials are also added to the treatment. "COPD drugs are increased during the exacerbation process and the oxygen and respiratory support the patient needs are provided."

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