You were in the hospital to treat your breathing problems that are caused by interstitial lung disease. This disease scars your lungs, which makes it hard for your body to get enough oxygen.
You received oxygen treatment, and you may need to keep using oxygen when you go home. Your doctor may have given you a new medicine to treat your lungs.
To build up strength:
Build your strength even when you are sitting.
Ask your doctor whether you need to use oxygen during your activities, and if so, how much. Also ask whether you should do an exercise and conditioning program such as pulmonary rehabilitation.
Eat smaller meals more often. It might be easier to breathe when your stomach is not full. Try to eat 6 small meals a day. Do not drink a lot of liquid before eating or with your meals.
Ask your doctor what foods to eat to get more energy.
Keep your lungs from becoming more damaged.
Take all the medicines that your doctor prescribed for you.
Talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or anxious.
Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should get a pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine.
Wash your hands often; always after you go to the bathroom and when you are around people who are sick.
Stay away from crowds. Ask any visitors with colds to wear masks or to postpone their visits.
Place items you use a lot in spots where you do not have to reach or bend over to get them.
Use a cart with wheels to move things around the house and kitchen. Use an electric can opener, dishwasher, and other things that will make your chores easier to do. Use cooking tools (knives, peelers, and pans) that are not heavy.
To save energy:
Never change how much oxygen is flowing in your oxygen setup without asking your doctor.
Always have a back-up supply of oxygen in the home or with you when you go out. Keep the phone number of your oxygen supplier with you at all times. Learn how to use oxygen safely at home.
Your hospital doctor or nurse may ask you to make a follow-up visit with:
Call your doctor if your breathing is:
Also call your doctor if:
Raghu G. Interstitial lung disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011: chap 92.
Selman M, Morrison LD, Noble PW, King TE Jr. Idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. In: Mason RJ, Murray JF, Broaddus VC, et al., eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 57.
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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