National Health Groups Support COPD Patients at Risk for Severe Effects from COVID-19

November 24, 2020

American Lung Association Logo
COPD Foundation Logo

Stephanie Goldina | American Lung Association
P: 312-801-7629 E:
Susan Williams | COPD Foundation
P: 646-753-0336 E:

In honor of World COPD Day, American Lung Association, COPD Foundation offer support for COPD patients and caregivers amid pandemic

CHICAGO (November 18, 2020) – An estimated 16.4 million Americans are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe – which places them at an increased risk for more severe illness from COVID-19. In honor of World COPD Day, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Lung Association and the COPD Foundation are sharing guidance and highlighting resources and support available to those living with COPD and their caregivers.

"It’s critical that those living with COPD, as well as their caregivers, do all they can to protect their health and reduce their exposure to the virus," said COPD Foundation Chief Medical Officer Byron Thomashow, M.D. "Changes in behavior, such as wearing a face mask, will be key to all of us staying healthy and out of the hospital, especially for those living with COPD, which is already a high-risk disease for readmissions to the hospital."

Questions about COPD management in the COVID era?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified those living with COPD among those at greater risk for the most severe complications from COVID-19. To protect their health, the American Lung Association and COPD Foundation encourage patients to work with their doctor to help manage their symptoms, stay on their maintenance medications and alert their healthcare provider of any changes in their health or symptoms. The organizations also encourage those living with COPD to reduce their exposure to the virus by utilizing telehealth when available and recommended by their provider, practicing thorough handwashing and avoiding touching their face, wearing a mask, staying physically distant from others and at home, when possible.

As national leading organizations supporting the health of COPD patients, the American Lung Association and COPD Foundation offer a variety of resources and support for both COPD patient and their caregivers:

  • Learn more about COPD from the American Lung Association, including how to manage symptoms and prepare for your next doctor visit at Direct questions to the American Lung Association’s toll-free Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA or email our experts. Visit for more information on COVID-19.
  • Learn how to better manage your symptoms or find answers to other frequently asked questions from the COPD Foundation by visiting and choosing Learn More. The COPD Foundation is dedicated to providing the community with answers to questions that will impact the management of COPD during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Quitting smoking and vaping can help reduce your risk of COVID-19, and the American Lung Association stands ready to help people beat their nicotine addiction with proven methods to quit. Learn more at or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.
Find support in COPD communities, including online

"While COPD patients may do all they can to protect their health from COVID-19, they may also be more likely to experience isolation and loneliness that may lead to depression," said American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo, M.D. "Those living with COPD often already struggle to live an active lifestyle. Taking additional efforts to protect your health may be isolating and difficult, but while we may be physically distanced, you’re not alone. There are resources and support communities available to you."

  • The COPD Foundation has a wonderful, active community waiting for you – COPD360social. If you are living with COPD, caring for someone, or if you are a healthcare professional working with COPD patients, click here. We also have a special online community for those living with Bronchiectasis or NTM lung disease. To find out more, click here. Our social community would love for you to join the conversation!
  • Get free support through the American Lung Association’s Better Breathers Network, which has provided support and community to those facing COPD for more than 40 years, and is now available virtually to reach those in rural areas and to offer safeguards for participants’ health during the pandemic.
  • The American Lung Association is proud to support the free, peer-to-peer online community at for people facing COPD, so you can connect with people who are in your shoes. You can start or respond to threads on the communities, upload photos and search for specific topics to find other members who share the same interests.

For more information on the American Lung Association, visit Learn more about the COPD Foundation at or direct questions to the COPD Foundation at For media seeking to schedule an interview with a lung health expert, contact Stephanie Goldina from the American Lung Association at or Susan Williams from the COPD Foundation at


About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

About the COPD Foundation
The COPD Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, strives to improve the lives of those affected by COPD and related lung conditions through a 360 approach to mobilizing partnerships in education, research and advocacy. We foster a dynamic community united in purpose that includes patients, caregivers, health care professionals, researchers, academic institutions, government agencies and industry leaders. Together, we are working to improve the lives of the nearly 16 million Americans living with COPD while also addressing preventative measures to impact factors that can lead to COPD like early childhood diseases, genetics, and occupational and environmental exposure.