For many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—emphysema, chronic bronchitis—symptoms worsen during allergy season when allergens that are inhaled into the nose and lungs act as irritants. COPD patients with allergies (e.g., hay fever) have higher levels of respiratory symptoms and are at higher risk for COPD exacerbations. Tree, grass and weed pollen, and mold spores can increase COPD symptoms because exposure to an allergen typically narrows the airways and increases mucus production—making it even more difficult to breathe.

Women COPD Allergies Image

If you have COPD and are bothered by seasonal allergies, talk to your health care provider and try these tips from the COPD Foundation:

  • Stay inside when the pollen count is highest—usually from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.—and on hot, dry days
  • Wear a mask when doing outdoor chores
  • Change your clothes after coming inside to avoid transferring pollen to furniture and bedding
  • Replace the filters in air conditioning units on a regular basis to keep allergens from circulating in the air, and change furnace filters regularly with a high-quality filter
  • Clean your house often—vacuum floors and furniture with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) filter and shampoo carpets and rugs at least once a year
  • Fix leaks in your home to prevent mold from building up
  • Consult with your doctor about an allergy control medication

Source: COPD Foundation

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 13 Mar 2014

Last Modified: 13 Mar 2014