Take all the medicines that your doctor prescribed for you.
Talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or anxious.
Stay away from infections
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.
Make it easy for yourself at home
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:
Use slow, steady motions when you do things.
Sit down if you can when you are cooking, eating, dressing, and bathing.
Get help for harder tasks.
Do not try to do too much in one day.
Keep the phone with you or near you.
Wrap yourself in a towel rather than drying off.
Try to reduce stress in your life.
Going home with oxygen
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:
Your primary care doctor
A respiratory therapist who can teach you breathing exercises and how to use your oxygen
Your lung doctor (pulmonologist)
Someone who can help you stop smoking, if you smoke
A physical therapist, if you join a pulmonary rehabilitation program
When to call the doctor
Call your doctor if your breathing is:
Faster than before
Shallow, and you cannot get a deep breath
Also call your doctor if:
You need to lean forward when sitting in order to breathe easier
You are using muscles around the ribs to help you breathe
You are having headaches more often
You feel sleepy or confused
You have a fever
You are coughing up dark mucus
Your fingertips, or the skin around your fingernails is blue
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.
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.