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Once someone is diagnosed with COPD, a number of changes may need to occur, often starting with adopting a device that delivers medical oxygen. Beyond that, however, there are plenty of little decisions that a patient needs to make in order to make his or her life COPD-friendly.
No, we do not mean having COPD and being friendly (though that is important too!). Making one’s life “COPD-friendly” means catering activity and surrounding environment to be more conducive to better breathing. Below, we provide the starting points for doing each of those.
COPD worsens in the winter, so it’s even more important at this time to set up a COPD-friendly environment.
Making a house COPD Friendly falls into two main categories: affecting the air and movement. When we think of the air in our homes, we are considering everything in the environment, not simply the oxygen. There are ways to eliminate elements that are detrimental to breathing, and there are also ways to increase the amount of positive elements in order to create an atmosphere favorable to breathing.
Plants – Aloe plants are great for clearing the air of formaldehyde and benzene, two chemicals often found in home supplies. Spider plants help rid the air of carbon monoxide. Consider adding these in order to purify the air better while at the same time sprucing up the look of a room.
Chemicals – Certain furniture, paints, and even computer printers contain chemicals you may have never heard of, but that can be detrimental to breathing. Consider more COPD friendly options of each of these, even if they cost a little extra.
Humidity – When a home is too damp, mold can develop, and the added moisture and irritants that come as a result trigger asthma-like symptoms. During the warmer months, it is important to monitor the exterior of the home and look out for any potential leaks or areas of weakness that might lead to increased dampness inside.
In the winter, however, the heat in a home tends to dry the air out. An air humidifier may be necessary in order to keep the lungs working to the best of their ability.
The other component to making one’s home COPD friendly is about affecting movement. Chores and daily tasks can be altered in order to accommodate COPD and an oxygen concentrator.
For daily chores, start keeping more things in easier-to-access places. That may mean less reaching up or bending down to get things. This also includes considering levels of the house; oftentimes, supplies may be stored in an attic, and a washer-dryer is often in the basement. In order to make these processes more COPD friendly, consider putting everything on the same level if at all possible.
As mentioned in the previous section, chemicals can have a more profound effect on people with COPD than those who do not have it. Everyday Health recommends using cleaning solutions that are bleach-free and ammonia-free.
For activities, follow this guide from New Life Outlook on hobbies for COPD, including gardening, puzzles, cooking, and others. Keeping hobbies and activities actually stimulates mental health and puts you in better shape to improve your breathing.
Creating a COPD Friendly environment is not easy and won’t happen overnight. But once it is achieved, it should support medical oxygen in making the patients life a little bit easier and healthier.