Chronic shortness of breath in winter and COVID-19


It is winter in many countries of the world. The whole world will remember the year 2020 as the year of bad omen.

 Mankind's fight against the Corona or Covid-19 virus is not over. As winter approaches, the world, is experiencing an increase in the number of corona patients. 

But keep in mind that even though everyone is paying attention to the coronavirus, there are many other respiratory diseases in the human body, which are less common throughout the year, but both increase in prevalence and severity in winter.

 Chronic respiratory problems or COPD is one of them. Another problem with shortness of breath is that although there is some similarity between COPD and asthma, it is important to identify the disease separately. 

There are several differences between the causes of these two diseases and the treatment.

What is COPD?

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a type of respiratory problem that is usually chronic and progressing. 

If a person with this disease does not get proper treatment, his lung function gradually decreases. 

He suffered from various physical complications including shortness of breath. There are many possible causes for COPD, but smoking is the main one.

Why is that?

It is difficult to identify a specific cause of COPD. Congenital, habitual, and environmental factors all contribute to a person's COPD.

 Long-term smoking is a major cause of COPD. But there are other factors that can contribute to COPD.

  • Use of fossil fuels for various purposes including cooking.
  • Air pollution.
  • Suffering from dust and air pollution for professional reasons.
  • Recurrent lung infections from an early age.
  • Malnutrition and congenitally low birth weight.

Are bronchitis and COPD the same thing?

Traditionally COPD can be divided into two parts.

1. Chronic bronchitis: Coughing up 2 teaspoons or more of phlegm most days and lasting for 2 years or more in a row is called chronic bronchitis.

2. Emphysema: Emphysema is some qualitative change in the airways and lungs. As a result, the patient suffers from chronic shortness of breath.

So it can be said that bronchitis is a part of COPD. In most cases, patients with COPD present these two types of problems together.

How to understand?

If a person 40 years of age or older has the following symptoms:

Shortness of breath: Almost all the time and throughout the year it increases after some walking and physical exertion and the intensity and duration of shortness of breath increases with age.

Long-term cough: May be dry or cough may be accompanied by cough.


  • Long-term smoking habits
  • Use fossil fuels for cooking or cooking in a wood stove (especially for women).
  • Suffering from air pollution due to occupational or environmental reasons.
  • Whether there is a family history of respiratory distress, low birth weight, or a history of recurrent lung infections from an early age.


Chest X-ray: Early stage X-ray examination of the patient's chest can give an idea of ​​whether he has COPD. However, the patient's history and the results of the physical examination have to be combined.

Spirometry: This test is done to be sure about COPD. In addition, spirostry tests provide an idea of ​​the patient's lung function and the severity of the disease. 

At present, various public and private hospitals have this test system. Apart from this some more tests are done in some situations. 

Such as determining the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, the ability to do physical work, etc.


By treating a patient with COPD, the patient's symptoms, the severity of the disease, and previous treatment, especially the history of hospitalization, are divided into four groups. 

The treatment is then determined according to the patient's group. The most commonly used drugs include:

  • Different types of inhalers, whose main function is to keep air circulation in the trachea and lungs normal.
  • Antibiotics as needed
  • Cough liquid medicine
  • Lung exercises or pulmonary rehabilitation - which is effective
  • Sometimes long-term oxygen therapy, which the patient can take at home

When do you realize you have to be hospitalized?

COPD patients usually have problems with vomiting and shortness of breath throughout the year. COPD can be controlled by using regular inhalers and taking necessary medicines. But sometimes the patient needs to be hospitalized. Especially in the following cases:

  • If the patient has shortness of breath and cough, such as shortness of breath at rest 
  • If there is water on the feet or if the lips, tongue and fingers turn into blue
  • After a few days, the severity of the disease increased
  • In the case of the elderly
  • If there is not enough service at home

Ways to stay free from COPD

COPD is a lifelong illness. So it is important to prevent COPD before it occurs. And the best way to prevent COPD is to avoid smoking altogether. People who have been smoking for a long time also start to get the benefits of quitting smoking.

The role of vaccines

People with COPD who are 40 years of age or older, as well as those who have minor lung complications, diabetes and kidney problems, can take the influenza and pneumonia vaccines at regular intervals as advised by their doctor. 

This type of vaccine greatly reduces the risk of recurrent lung infections and the development of acute COPD.

Corona and COPD

The severity of COPD increases naturally during the winter season. In addition, corona increases the risk of COPD. Therefore, the lungs of people with COPD are already less functional.

 Complications and risk of death in COPD patients with coronavirus disease; Both increase. Therefore, people suffering from COPD should be careful not to get infected with coronavirus.

 In addition, if a person suffering from COPD does not have corona, immediate action should be taken for his treatment and if necessary, a quick decision should be taken about hospitalization.

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