We know you work hard to manage your Alpha-1. Taking care of your overall health is part of your treatment plan. This includes changing your lifestyle to help prevent damage to your lungs and liver. To help you stay healthier, here are some tips you can add to your day-to-day life:
1) If you smoke, quit. Your lungs are more likely to become damaged from having Alpha-1. Protect your lungs by not smoking. Talk to your doctor if you need help.
2) Avoid pollen, dust, fumes, pollution and secondhand smoke. Even if you wear a mask, it’s best to avoid them. To keep yourself from breathing in bad air, you can:
- Check the air quality index before you go outside. If the air quality is poor, stay inside as much as you can on those days. Plan your errands and outdoor activities for the morning or for another day if you can
- Keep your windows rolled up while driving
- Do not let anyone smoke in your house
- Let someone else do chores like dusting, vacuuming, shaking out rugs, and cleaning pet cages and litter boxes
- Clean the floors with a damp mop instead of vacuuming or sweeping. Don’t use spray cleaners
- Use mattress and pillow covers, and always wash your linens in hot water to kill dust mites
- Bathe your pet weekly and keep it out of the bedroom
- Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels low and help prevent mold
- Install an air filtering system
3) Avoid getting sick:
- Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water. This is the best way to help prevent infection. Also, carry disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer with you, and wear a mask when you’re away from home
- Stay away from people who are sick
- Keep up with your flu and pneumonia vaccines
- Run your errands when stores are less crowded
- At the doctor's office or hospital, wipe the arm rests and door handles with a disinfectant wipe before you touch them. Bring your own magazine or book if you want to read
4) Call your doctor right away if you think you are getting sick. Watch for symptoms like for congestion, cough, fever or trouble breathing
5) Take good care of your teeth and gums, and see your dentist on a regular basis
6) Stay active. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan that’s right for you. Be sure to start slowly and build strength and endurance gradually
7) Eat a healthy diet such as plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber and protein. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you need help with meal planning
8) Limit alcohol to protect your liver. Talk to your doctor about how much, if any, alcohol you can drink
9) Stay on track:
- Take all your medications as directed by your doctor
- See your lung doctor routinely
- Get the tests your doctor orders
10) Get the emotional support you need, and help to manage your stress. One way to do this is by joining a support group (in-person or virtual). Visit the Alpha-1 Foundation website and click on your state to find a local support group.
For more tips on staying healthier, talk to your doctor or visit alphanet.org and alpha1.org.
Your Alpha-1 Advocate Team is also here for you. Call us at 1-877-602-6726 when you need us.