People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are very sensitive to indoor air pollution. Poor home air quality can aggravate symptoms and cause increased trouble with breathing. Try these steps to purify the air and breathe easier at home:
Control the Source of the Problem
- Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in the home. Fireplace smoke can also be an irritant.
- Reduce exposure to household chemicals such as paints, varnishes, and cleaning products. Also, don’t keep partially used containers of unnecessary products laying around your home as they can emit chemicals that are bad for your lungs.
- Minimize dust mites (wash bed linens weekly, lower the humidity level, and keep pets off furniture).
- Remove clutter (because clutter collects dust!).
- Limit the use of fragrant sprays and lotions such as hair sprays, perfumes, after shave lotions and air fresheners or scented candles.
Remove Particles and Exhaust Pollutants
- Keep all floors clean (hardwood floors are much easier to maintain in an allergy-free state than carpets).
- Limit the amount of carpet in the home and clean it regularly with a bag style vacuum cleaner.
- Install an indoor air filtration system. Make sure it has a HEPA filter and beware of systems that generate ozone but claim to filter the air.
- Ventilate the home by opening windows and running exhaust fans. However, when outdoor air quality is poor or dust levels are high, keep windows closed.
Use a Humidifier
Dry air from the heating system can exacerbate symptoms.
Test for Radon
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into the home through cracks or holes in the basement walls and floor. Risk depends on how much and how long a person has been exposed to radon gas, which is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. While radon test kits are available at hardware stores, there are discounted test kits available. See epa.gov/radon for more information.
San Diego Home Caregivers understands the needs of those with COPD, and will assist with symptom management at home. Call San Diego Home Caregivers today to learn more about the ways in-home care can help people with COPD breathe easier.