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Test Your Knowledge of COPD Triggers

People with COPD should take care to avoid getting a cold or the flu.

The correct answer is true. Getting a cold or the flu can trigger a flare-up of symptoms. Reduce your risk of infection by washing your hands often and avoiding people with a cold or the flu. You should also get a flu vaccine each year and get a pneumococcal vaccine -- ask your doctor how often.

The air quality outside can affect your COPD symptoms.

The correct answer is true. Pollution and other materials in the air can trigger COPD symptoms. You can check the air quality index (AQI) each day to see how clean the air is in your area. Look for the AQI posted in your local newspaper or on the TV or radio.

Secondhand smoke doesn't affect people with COPD.

The correct answer is false. Secondhand smoke can trigger a flare-up of COPD symptoms. To limit your exposure, avoid places where people smoke. Also ask family and friends not to smoke near you or in or around your home.

Smoke from a wood-burning stove can trigger a flare-up.

The correct answer is true. If you can't avoid using a wood-burning stove, choose one that is EPA-emission certified. Also, make sure to have the stove, fireplace, and chimney cleaned each year, and only burn wood that has been dry for many months.

Painting your living room can trigger COPD symptoms.

The correct answer is true. Paint is just one household product that contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When inhaled, VOCs can cause your COPD symptoms to get worse. To limit your contact, use a fan to vent rooms when using paint or cleaning products.

You can reduce your exposure to pollen by:

The correct answer is all of the above. Pollen is another possible trigger of COPD symptoms. Staying indoors when the pollen count is high helps prevent flare-ups. Pollen counts are highest between 5 AM and 10 AM on hot, dry, windy days. Remove indoor plants if they trigger symptoms.

You can keep mold out of your home by controlling moisture.

The correct answer is true. Mold is another COPD trigger. It grows in places that are moist. Limit mold in your home by keeping the indoor humidity low. You can do this by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.

Dust mites are common in dry areas of your home.

The correct answer is false. Dust mites live in dust particles, but they thrive in humid locations. Dust mite droppings can trigger COPD. You can limit dust mites by dusting with a damp cloth, vacuuming often, washing bedding once a week in hot water, and using an air conditioner in warm weather.

Which of the following can cause a flare-up?

The correct answer is all of the above. Pets can trigger COPD symptoms, but you don't have to get rid of your furry friend. Reduce your contact with triggers by keeping pets out of your bedroom and off of carpets, bed linens, and upholstered furniture. If possible, choose pets without fur or feathers.

Your appliances can cause indoor pollution.

The correct answer is true. Any appliance that uses gas, oil, propane, natural gas, or kerosene can produce fumes that can trigger COPD symptoms. To reduce this risk, have your furnace and other heating and cooling systems cleaned and inspected each year.

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