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British Lung Foundation
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Just diagnosed with COPD and Emphysema, Asthma,and Bronchitis

I'm 45 and just diagnosed with this COPD and Emphysema. I'm scared to death of all I'm researching on this disease. I'm feeling as if anybody i get near that has the sniffles is going to get me sick.

15 Replies

My dear ladygarcia Please don't worry we will all try to support you if you would like to know how we feel to enable you to compare. i have had Asthma from the age of 2 and diagnosed with COPD in my 20's. I am slowing down a bit now as my lungs are getting a little worse as I get older but at 54 I am still working I just reduced my hours to 20 per week and feel alot better for it. If we worry too much we would never go out of the house! There are some very brave and wonderful people on this site make the most of their experience. Do take care of yourself and hope to speak again best wishes


Hi, ladygarcia, try not worry to much, I,ve had copd for 12months, it is sometimes scary, but with the support of this site , and the people on it, you will be o.k take care


Hello Ladygarcia

Welcome to the forum. First thing stop Googling all your doing is frightening yourself, tomorrow morning ring BLF helpline click the red balloon to speak to someone who can answer all your questions. We have all been just diagnosed feeling and scared but I promise you with the right medication, diet and exercise and stopping of the fags (if you smoke) get Flu and Pneumonia jabs you can live a normal life.

And as for people with colds etc I was the same but I've now just decided that I just try and take sensible precautions, but don't let it stop you going out.

Kim xxxxx


Hello Lady,

This is a great group you have found, people in here have all got some medical problem but they are so happy to help others. I know I get a lot of support from them. I understand your fear of people with colds etc............ I confess I avoid them as much as I can. I had double pneumonia just over a year ago and respiratory failure last December. Try not to get too scared reading all the info available on the internet, the best advice I offer you is try to eat well keep moving and doing what you can. Take it easy find time to do the things you enjoy you have a load on your plate but you have to try to keep on track. Yes you will have both good and bad days I find the cold damp days the worst for me roll on summer as my health seems to perk up a bit then.

Your GP may have a COPD nurse who will make sure you have the best inhalers for your condition, my nurse is very good. Your hospital consultant may have a similar thing in place, don't be scared to ask they have access to a wealth of useful information.

Kind regards



Some very good advice for you there. You can still live a long and relatively healthy life with lung disease. As far as catching germs from others it depends on how bad you are and how far you want to avoid people. I am just in the moderate range - I try and stay away from those with colds but hey ho I am not going to restrict my social life because of it. I caught a cold from a friend a month ago and got a really nasty chest infection. But I could have caught one on the bus or in a shop etc. etc. The only sure way to avoid it is to become a hermit and that's no life is it?


Good Morning Ladygarcia - I care for my husband who has severe COPD - actually I think he has been upgraded to very severe! But he is still working full time - we have children and we still have a great life just a bit slower than others! I can so sympathise with you. My husband has been diagnosed for years and had symptoms for years before that. After one particular bad time - a chap came to visit him at the office who had the worst cold I have ever seen and sure enough within 24 hours my husband was ill and it took him a while to recover. From that I became paranoid. (and to some extend still am). So I tried to take control a little bit more - I installed the hand sanitisers everywhere! He has a constant supply on his desk and uses it all the time. Then I decided that wasn't enough I needed to improve his immune system. I did a lot of research and have found that a lot of people with lung conditions and in this country have vitamin D deficiency - so after a blood test at the doctors, he is on Vitamin D plus 1000mg of vitamin C a day. I have indoctrinated the kids to be really careful if they have colds - using the hand gel etc and not kissing or hugging Dad. Having done all that - I feel better because we have done as much as we can to prevent infections. And my feeling is that is as much as anyone can do.

In addition I firmly believe keeping fit helps - as fit as you can, when my husband is a bit fitter he seems to be stronger. A yearly flu jab and a pneumonia jab essential.

You can keep well and enjoy your flife for many years. Don't let it rule you - do all you can to prevent illnesses and that's as much as you can do. Take good care, lots of love TAD xxx


Warm welcome to the BLF forum. You'll find it's wonderful for learning to make your life better & manage your conditions.

Lovely replies above. I too work on my immune system with Vits. I've had two long lasting infections - both caught from little children! I carry that hand gel but forget to use it. I have just bought some 1st Defence from Boots and spray in each nostril before going to public places, see little ones and on The Tube.

Get your immune system in tip top condition - feel desperately sorry for those with suppressed immune systems - best way of fighting off the bugs and at the same time keep your antibodies fighting too.

Good luck, keep coming here to learn. Knowledge is power!!

edit: PS If you smoke GIVE UP NOW

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hi lady garcia, yes it does or it can scare you to death,and you cant help doing research,about this,, its just human nature,, but looking too much into things can often make you worse, scared, unsure etc,,far better taking the advise from these great forum members,, take all medications doctor prescribed,dont be scared to ask the medical proffesion anything that concerns you, and if worse anytime dont hesitate to inform doc,,.exercise the best you can, eat a proper diet,no smoking etc. quite often we all worry over this, but this can actually make us worse,,,this may sound a bit callous,[ not meant to be] ,,but the story of the man with one leg who worried so much about it, it made him ill,,,,until he saw a man with no legs!!! off course the moral is there to be seen,,, look to the positives and not the negatives,, please lady garcia, try not to be scared, try concentrate on doing the right things, of course all easier said than done, but it can be done,,take care, lots of kindness and best regards,,jimmy

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Hi ladygarcia :)

I totally understand where you are coming from as I have been in the same place recently. I felt like I had been given a death sentence after going for my tests and spirometer examination (Oct 31st 13). I left the surgery with my self management pack and a thousand questions that hadn't even begun to form in my mind coherently at that stage. I then researched through a winter of no sunlight and little support, shoulders or sympathy for this invisible illness.

Then, just a few short weeks ago, I finally used the telephone number on BLF and was so glad that I did. All my questions have been answered and I no longer feel isolated and invisible and with the help of a more visible sun feel full of the joys of spring. Positive mental attitude is key for me and when I feel down or need expert, honest advice and guidance I visit this site. I guess it is important to remember that you are you ladygarcia and not the illness.

Make that call...and then let the sunshine back into your life.

You are loved

Blissings and healing love


As my wife is a teacher I asked the specialist at the hospital about all the infections,she told me that my infections come from inside ME and not from any germs my wife may be carrying.In our nose and the back of the throat we have pockets that contain infectious microbes ,these sometimes flare up and cause infection.Eat healthily

,don,t smoke and exercise as much as you can.Don,t worry as you get used to this condition it gets easier.


I always think of my neighbour who had emphysema - he insisted on doing his swimming every day and was like a broken-hearted child when they finally banned him from the pool - in his mid-eighties! He finally passed away at almost ninety after a heart attack. Please stop the internet self-diagnosis, you'll always go for the worst case scenario and that's no help at all.


ladygarcia, Welcome to the forum. first, I think we all are upset at first when we are bombarded with all these names of diseases.

Yes, in a way they are all related. But with good care, you shouold manage them alright.

first of all, Have you got a consultant ( a nice one with whom you can talk and ask questions?)? Have you been referred to a pulmonary team nurse? If not, ask to be referred. A Pulmonary Team Nurse is a lovely woman (usually) who understands the deep problems of lung diseases. she will give you advice on all aspects of the disease, and especially on those aspects that might worry you.

she can also refer patients to a physiotherapist ( who can teach you for instance how to cough up and how to deal with acute shortness of breath). she can talk to you on embarking on a pulmonary rehabilitation, where you get an assessment, see people in the same boat as you, have advice on medication, on breath management and many more things and a set of exercises afdter assessment of your abilities (no they don't torment patients into doing things they wouldn't want to do!!!)

Have you heard about sputum sample. This is if you are coughing up. You ask for a sputum pot from your surgery and it's sent to be analysed to see if you have nasties and which antibiotics to use to target them

Sorry, there's a lot to consider in this. first of all, get your GP to refer you to a consultant and a pulmonary team nurse.

Ask in the forum again, and most of all, sit down, take a good breath and make yourself a cup of hot chocolate!

I have been ill since 1994, still alive, had many infections, gone to the gym, and ... what else .... with a smile it goes better :-)


Hi Ladygarcia...welcome to a great site ...my advice don't read the internet I did the same an had my self in a coffin within six months ..so much misinformation out there...this is the only site you will need trust me ...everyone here has a wealth of experience when it comes to copd an lots of great advice ...it's not a deathsentence try to excercise quit smoking if u havnt already keep positive an you can look forward to years of great health an happiness..Regards Wes


Take a few slow deep breaths. And slow your breathing and your pulse. I have had copd since I was 39 years of age. And in a months time will be 66 years old. Still making a pest of myself on this earth. After about five years of writing it my blog is quite long. But does explain quite a bit about copd. Visit bitz-and-bobz.co.uk/copd


Hi, I know how you feel. When my husband was diagnosed I was terrified of being around people with coughs etc in case I took it home to him. It took us a good few months to stop panicking whenever someone sneezed etc. No matter what you do to protect yourself there is always a risk. We've learned to be prepared rather than avoiding everything/everyone. You learn to adapt and live your life as normally as you can as I think keeping yourself restricted is more damaging to your health than catching a cold. We try to eat healthy and keep as fit as much as his condition allows so he can fight any infection he may develop. You'll be ok just be practical and be prepared. We're all here to help each other.


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