Smoker’s Cough:What You Should Know

Do you have smoker’s cough? Have you been short of breath even with small amounts of physical activity? Have you been a long-time smoker or lived with a long-time smoker? If so, you may want to learn about COPD.

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What is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is where the lungs have been damaged and that damage cannot be reversed and it continues over time.

Because of this breathing becomes harder as:
  • Airways become stiffer, thicker and inflamed
  • Airways make more mucus than usual, which can clog them
Did you know that in 2012, more than 800,000 Canadians aged 35 and over reported being diagnosed with COPD by a health care professional?

Many people don't know they have the condition.
They think it’s a smoker's cough or a normal sign of aging. But it’s not - and it’s treatable.

What does it feel like?

If you have COPD you may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • A cough that lasts a long time
  • Coughing up mucus (a slimy substance coming up from your lungs)
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)
  • Shortness of breath, especially during any kind of physical activity
  • Feeling extra tired
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Frequent lung infections that last longer than for others your age (the flu, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.)
Did you know that there are things you can do to improve your symptoms? Start by talking to your doctor or your Walmart Phamacist.

What are Flare-ups?

From time to time you may notice that your usual symptoms suddenly get worse and stay worse or that you develop new symptoms you didn’t have before. When this happens it is called a flare-up or an exacerbation.

Flare-ups can be dangerous, and you may need to go to the hospital. If you have COPD there are things you can do to help avoid dangerous flare-ups.

Two important things you can do are:
1. Avoid catching a cold or the flu by

  • Stay away from sick people
  • Wash hands often and properly
  • Get your flu shot each year

2. Avoid things that trigger your COPD symptoms, e.g., cigarette smoke


What Causes COPD?

With COPD you may have either emphysema or chronic bronchitis, or both. Most cases of COPD, whether emphysema or chronic bronchitis, are caused by smoking.

Did you know that of every 100 long-term smokers, about 15 to 20 get COPD?

However non-smokers can get COPD, too. Other possible causes of COPD include:

  • Second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Long-term exposure to lung irritants such as air pollution, industrial dust and chemical fumes.
  • Preterm birth that leads to lung damage (neonatal chronic lung disease)
  • Inherited/genetic factors (rare)

What Can I Do?

While there is no cure for COPD, it can be managed.

The most important thing is, if you smoke, you must quit. For most people who quit, quitting can slow down symptoms from getting worse.

  • Take your prescribed medications. These medications help to keep your symptoms under control.
  • Avoid lung irritants
    • Secondhand smoke, air pollution, etc.
  • Take steps to improve your ability to breathe
    • Learn breathing techniques to strengthen lungs
  • Eat well and stay active
    • Good nutrition and active lifestyle promote healing and lung function
  • Learn all you can about COPD



Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart is knowledgeable about COPD and how you can manage the condition & breathe easier. Just ask!

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

The pharmacist at Walmart does not endorse or recommend any sponsor or their products or services.
Any representation, performance claim, warranty or guarantee in any materials herein is the sole responsibility of the sponsor that has prepared such materials and is not independently verified by Walmart.

Cromolyn® and Lax-A-Day® are registered trademarks of Pharmascience Inc.
PENDOPHARM, Division of Pharmascience Inc. Montreal, QC, Canada H4P 2T4 1-888-550-6060.

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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