For older adults and those with lung conditions such as COPD, maintaining the best possible air quality in the home is critical. Air that is too dry, for instance, can cause or exacerbate the effects of COPD and other health problems such as:
- Itchy, dry, or chapped skin
- Nose bleeds
- A sore throat
- Dry eyes
- Aggravated allergy, asthma, and cold/flu symptoms such as congestion
- And more
Nevertheless, air that is too humid can cause mold and mildew to develop, which can worsen the effects of COPD as well as cause damage to the home.
Humidifiers, when used properly, can help maintain an ideal degree of moisture in the air (between 30 – 50%), and especially for those with a chronic lung disease, can foster reduced irritation of nasal passages, eased breathing, and also the ability to more efficiently expel phlegm in coughing.
Furthermore, using a humidifier during the night can alleviate snoring and congestion, help minimize the level of any allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air, even relieve an itchy scalp. Again, be careful to be sure the level of humidity does not exceed the optimal range, which could bring about disrupted sleep patterns.
There are many different types of humidifiers available:
- Central humidifiers, which are built into the house’s central heating/air conditioning unit; the most expensive option, but one that will benefit the whole house rather than only one room
- Impeller humidifiers, utilizing a cool mist, which is a safer alternative because it can’t cause burns; it can, however, trigger allergic or asthmatic problems if overused
- Evaporators, blowing air through a dampened filter; an economical choice, but can be troublesome if allowed to add an excessive amount of moisture into the air
- Ultrasonic humidifiers, using vibrations to create mist in either a cool or warm option; available in an assortment of sizes
- Steam vaporizers, which are typically the most affordable and most portable option; water is heated and then cooled prior to being discharged into the air
Speak to a doctor about the advantages of a humidifier in your loved one’s specific circumstances, and which type is recommended.
Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is here to assist those with chronic health problems like COPD, or simply the issues inherent in normal aging, through a variety of home care services. Reach out to our expert home care team to learn more about our Kalamazoo home care and the other Michigan communities that we serve or to see how we can help you breathe easier with dependable in-home support. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.