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COPD: Tips for Easier Dressing

When you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), even getting dressed can sometimes seem like a challenge, especially in the morning when symptoms can be the worst. These pointers can help:

  • Select clothes that don’t restrict your breathing. Choose loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. Try wearing drawstring pants instead of pants with a tight waistband or belt. Women can try wearing a soft sports bra or camisole instead of a regular bra.

  • Avoid socks or pantyhose with elastic bands that could restrict the flow of blood in your legs.

  • Don’t wear anything that’s tight around your neck, such as buttoned collars, turtlenecks, or ties. For more formal occasions, men can unbutton their collar and wear a loose bolo or cravat.

  • Choose clothing with zippers and buttons in front so that you won’t have to exert yourself trying to reach behind your back.

  • Wear slip-on shoes instead of those that tie or buckle. A long-handled shoehorn can help you put on your shoes without bending over. Also look for nonskid soles to reduce the risk of slipping and falling.

  • Stay comfortably warm by layering T-shirts and long johns underneath your clothes. Also keep a shawl or an oversized, unbuttoned cardigan handy to throw over your shoulders if you get cold.

To conserve energy, sit down to shave, fix your hair, or put on makeup. Rest your elbows on a table or counter. When brushing your teeth, keep your elbows close to your body. Get a simple yet flattering hairstyle that’s easy to maintain.

Avoid spray and perfumed products because they may irritate your lungs. Use unscented toiletries, mousse, or hair gel rather than hairspray, and roll-on or stick deodorant. A few simple changes can help get your day off to a stylish start.