Humidifiers for COPD: Helpful or Harmful?
For seniors and anyone else with a lung condition like COPD, maintaining the best possible air quality within the home is vitally important. But are humidifiers for COPD the right solution? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. If the air is too dry, for example, it can cause or exacerbate health problems including:
- Chapped, dry, or itchy skin
- Nose bleeds
- Dry eyes
- Sore throat
- Aggravated allergy, asthma, and cold/flu symptoms like congestion
- And more
However, air that is too humid can cause mold and mildew to grow, which can lead to a host of health problems along with potential damage to the home.
Humidifiers, when used properly, can help maintain the ideal level of moisture in the air (between 30 and 50%), and in particular for those with a chronic lung disease, can foster reduced irritation of the nasal passages, eased breathing, and the ability to more effectively expel phlegm through coughing.
In addition, using a humidifier overnight can alleviate snoring and congestion, help reduce the amount of any allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air, and even soothe an itchy scalp. Once again, use caution to ensure the level of humidity doesn’t exceed the ideal range, which can result in disrupted sleep patterns.
There are a few different types of humidifiers to consider:
- Central humidifiers are built into the home’s central heating/air conditioning unit. This is the most expensive option, but benefits the whole home instead of just one area.
- Impeller humidifiers utilize a cool mist, which is a safer option since it can’t cause burns. It could trigger allergic or asthmatic problems if overused, however.
- Evaporators blow air through a dampened filter. This is an affordable choice, but it can be problematic if allowed to add too much moisture to the air.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers use vibrations to create a mist that can be either cool or warm. They’re available in a variety of sizes.
- Steam vaporizers, which are typically the least expensive and most portable option, heat water which is then cooled before being expelled into the air.
Talk to the doctor about the benefits of a humidifier in your particular situation, and to find out which type is preferred.
Hired Hands Homecare, the top provider of Napa Valley support services and care throughout the surrounding areas, is here to help those with chronic health conditions like COPD, or simply the difficulties inherent in normal aging, through a wide variety of home care services. Call us at (866) 940-4343 to find out how we can help you breathe easier with customized in-home support.