Although alternative treatment options exist that work to alleviate the various symptoms of chronic lung disease as well as the disease’s progression, understanding the effect of weather on respiratory health is critical to living a healthier life. As the aging process makes regulating the body’s temperature more difficult, COPD -related hospital admissions are known to rise among periods of excessive heat for adults 65 and older.
In essence, breathing in hot air can worsen lung diseases such as COPD and promote airway inflammation. In regard to elevation, although altitudes around sea level can have little effect on respiratory health, altitudes above 2000 (such as those found in Colorado) can gradually improve respiratory health as the body begins to adjust to the thinner amount of oxygen in the air.
Although COPD can seem insurmountable, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of cellular research, and the first step to living a longer life is finding the best treatment plan for you. For people with lung disease, a change in quality of life could mean the difference between struggling to walk to the mailbox and riding a bike.
For most, protection from these seasonal changes includes throwing on a coat, packing an umbrella, or lathering up with sunscreen. Research has found that an air temperature of 70 degrees F and a humidity level of 40% is the ideal environmental condition for COPD patients; the combo helps relax airways, minimizing symptoms.
On the other hand, freezing and heat, as well as sudden changes to weather and air quality, can spell trouble for anyone with COPD : Fall is also flu season, making it extremely important for COPD patients to monitor their health and take precautions in public.
Between dust, pollen, and smog, outdoor pollutants in May through September can easily trigger COPD exacerbations. The ability to adapt to this overbearing heat is difficult for the average adult and near impossible for anyone suffering from a respiratory disease.
During colder months, turning on a humidifier indoors will help you maintain air humidity levels at a perfect 40%. On extremely hot and humid days, the best way to manage your COPD symptoms is to stay indoors with the air conditioner on.
When pollen counts are high or air pollution is heavy, people with COPD should consider remaining indoors or wearing a face covering in public to block allergens. We’re an on-demand, healthcare response team that provides acute care, treatment, and testing to people of all ages in the comfort of their homes.
This in-home service has helped many people living with COPD benefit from prompt medical care for their exacerbated symptoms. During COVID-19, DispatchHealth’s service has been a valuable resource for people with COPD who are at higher risk of developing coronavirus-related complications.
The water drips into a basin that you need to empty and clean with bleach to keep mold away. Measure the humidity in your home to keep it at an ideal level and prevent overuse of the machine.
Be sure to clean your humidifier often, or bacteria can grow in the tank, which can make you sick. On the other hand, low humidity causes the air to feel dry.
Dry air irritates your throat and sinuses, and can help spread viruses such as the flu. If the air in your house is dry, a humidifier adds moisture in the form of vapor or mist.
Continued Humidifiers are useful in winter when your heat is on and dries out the air. They come in many sizes, from a tabletop model that can handle one room, to a console that spreads moisture to larger areas.
You can also have one built into your central heating system that humidifies the entire house. Unplug and clean the tank every 3 days with hydrogen peroxide or another disinfectant if the directions say so.
Stay inside with your windows closed, away from pollen and other things you may be allergic to. Work with your doctor to get the right medications or inhalers to manage your allergies.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) causes a variety of symptoms, including wheezing, shortness of breathing and chest tightness. According to the American Lung Association, the cold weather can affect people with COPD in a few different ways.
In other instances, cold air may lead to increased mucus production and a moist cough. Breathing too fast, such as in cold weather, does not allow you the time to fully exhale, which leads to air trapping.
The narrowed vessels make the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Although the cold air can be challenging for people with COPD, there are things you can do to deal with the dipping temps and control symptoms.
Cover Your Mouth and Nose With a Scarf Warming the air before inhaling can help reduce irritation to the airways. Avoid Exercising Outdoors The cold weather is enough to cause breathing problems for people with lung disease.
If you typically exercise outdoors, when the temperatures get colder, consider switching to an indoor workout. Poor air quality also occurs during the winter months, especially in cold climates, where there may be a lot of wood burning.
Do not Use a Fireplace or Wood Burning Stove If you have COPD or other lung diseases, you are more likely to be sensitive to smoke. Smoke from fireplaces and wood burning stoves can also irritate the airways and increase symptoms of COPD.
In addition to a sudden flare-up of symptoms, exposure to smoke can cause long-term consequences, such as a decrease in lung function. Although a flu shot does not protect you against the cold weather, it can decrease your risk of getting sick with influenza.
High altitude can make breathing more difficult for people with lung diseases. When you combine high altitude with cold, dry air, it can mean trouble for people with COPD.
Extreme temperatures, humidity levels and even passing thunderstorms all can cause COPD symptoms to flare. Researchers have determined the ideal environmental conditions for COPD patients include an air temperature of 70 degrees and a humidity level of 40%.
This combination can help airways stay relaxed, which minimizes the risk of symptoms. However, few locations feature such ideal outdoor weather all year long.
Low humidity also makes it harder for the membranes to produce the fluid they need to move viruses and bacteria. As a result, the risk of both lung infections and allergies rises in cold, dry conditions.
However, inhaling hot air is known to worsen airway inflammation for those with COPD and asthma. The pollen grains get sucked into storm clouds and become saturated with water.
They then can break into smaller grains that are carried by wind at the ground level and easily inhaled into the lungs. Knowing what to expect from outdoor conditions can help you better plan shopping and other chores for times when the weather won’t slow you down.
If you need to be outside during cold, dry weather, wear a scarf over your mouth and nose. This will warm and humidify the air as you breathe in through your mouth to limit airway constriction.
Use a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air to make your breathing easier. During hot and humid conditions, remaining inside could be the best option for keeping symptoms under control.