According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an estimated 12 million adults are currently diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and it’s estimated that another 12 million may be living with the disease without even knowing it. It’s also worth noting that COPD usually strikes in middle age, with smoking as the primary risk factor. Consistent exposure to occupational dusts and chemicals also presents a high risk factor.
One of the first warning signs of COPD is mild coughing with clear sputum, usually after waking in the morning. Other symptoms may also crop up with this progressive disease, including coughing that produces excessive mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. While there is no cure for COPD, there are some steps one can take at home to manage and effectively ease symptoms, cut the risk of complications, and improve quality of life.
5 Steps to Improve Home Air Quality for Symptom Relief
- The most important step a person can take to reduce COPD symptoms is to stop smoking. 85-90% of COPD deaths are caused by smoking.
- Because people with COPD are very sensitive to indoor air pollution, it is important to purify the air at home. 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.
- Minimize dust mites by washing bed linens weekly, keeping floors clean and removing dust-collecting clutter from the home.
- Reduce exposure to household chemicals such as paints, varnishes and cleaning products and limit the use of fragrant sprays, air fresheners, scented candles and perfumes.
- 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.
Live Free Home Health Care is experienced at working with COPD patients and their family members to manage symptoms and ensure that the home is a safe environment and free from irritants. In-home care helps sufferers manage COPD through education, exercise, nutritional support, psychological support and coping skills. Call Live Free Home Health Care, providers of in-home care in Concord and throughout the surrounding communities, at 603-217-0149 to learn more about managing COPD symptoms. Click here to learn more about breathing exercises to relieve COPD.