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Dealing with COPD in Cold Weather

Regardless of what region of the country you live in, by this point Old Man Winter has undoubtedly reared his ugly head in some way or another. While this has given everyone reason to gripe, no one should feel like they have to hibernate indoors for the winter. If you suffer from COPD, the cold weather can be extra hard on you. There is a lot to consider and plenty of precaution to take when you are venturing outdoors during the winter. We’ve compiled information and tips from great resources on living with COPD during the cold months.

COPD Foundation

The COPD Coach at the COPD Foundation urges you to take every precaution, including getting a flu shot and buying extra groceries lest snow or cold keep you indoors unexpectedly. One precaution you might not immediately think of is to make sure your furnace filters are clean so that the air in your house is not hurting your breathing.

If you do decide to go outside, The COPD Coach reminds you to wear a scarf and to keep your oxygen tubing (if you use it) inside your clothing to keep the air warm.

COPD Coach on the Cold Weather via the COPD Foundation.

Respiratory Health Association

The Respiratory Health Association reminds us that cold weather can constrict the airway to your lungs, so it is important to keep your entire body warm to prevent that from happening. In order to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle during the colder months, have some in-home exercises as back-ups for days when it is too cold to exercise outside or travel out to exercise.

Respiratory Health Association’s Climate Change & Respiratory Health Issue.

Everyday Health

Health site Everyday Health examines the effect of wind as well as cold with regards to COPD. Heavy winds can make it hard to walk and breathe, and extreme cold temperatures leave people with COPD feeling exhausted after being outside for extended periods of time. Possible effects of cold weather are shortness of breath and increased phlegm production.

“How Weather Can Affect Your COPD”  from Everyday Health.

A common thread extant here is this: minimize the cold that you feel. Bundle up and cover up as much as possible to limit exposure. Limit your time outside so that the cold doesn’t have a chance to affect you in a negative way. The only way to avoid the cold entirely is to stay inside all the time, but that is not healthy either. So the main thing is to take every necessary precaution, to keep warm, and keep your outdoor trips brief.

Inogen One portable oxygen concentrators support your efforts to stay active and mobile during the cold months. They can be brought outside in any temperature so long as it’s not below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and are light enough to carry in a small bag or over your shoulder with the carrying case. Be sure to keep any tubing covered.

Photo Credit: Boston Waterfront, Flickr,  garyt70

5 thoughts on “Dealing with COPD in Cold Weather”

  1. Avatar M. Richie says:

    Good info on weather conds and COPD

  2. Avatar Peter Hagen says:

    How long is too long/cold to be outside with my portable O2 concentrator?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Peter, Our POC’s can be used down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit for a short time. If you take it below freezing temperatures for hours at a time, there is a strong chance that the concentrator will get too cold and will give an error code. However once the unit has warmed up back up to room temperature, it will operate normally. I hope this helps answer your question.

  3. Avatar Leonard says:

    Is there any O2 portable concentrators that will work in the outdoors at below freezing temps? If not then how does one go out skiing, skating, XC skiing & snowshoeing with them?

    1. Inogen Inogen says:

      Hi Leonard,
      That is a good question. Based on labeling, our use range goes down to 41° F, which is not typical skiing weather. However, if you do decide to use the Inogen in the colder temperatures, please do not directly place the Inogen One POC on the ground in the snow or on the ice for any period of time. There is smart technology built within our Inogen One POC’s and the device will communicate that is it becoming too cold/too hot and will give the user enough time to locate to a warmer or cooler environment before the units error priority level increases. We always start with a low priority warning, then to medium and high before the unit would ever shut itself down. The device will not allow itself to become to far out of the allowable temperature ranges to ever cause itself damage, therefore shutting itself off. If this should happen, relocate the device to warmer/colder environment for a short time to get itself back to normal operating temperature and then restart the device.

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