Can a Humidifier Help Seniors Manage COPD?

For older adults and those with lung conditions such as COPD, maintaining the best possible air quality in the house is vital. Air that is too dry, for instance, could cause or exacerbate health issues such as

  • Itchy, dry, or chapped skin
  • Nose bleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Dry eyes
  • Aggravated allergy, asthma, and flu/cold symptoms such as congestion
  • And much more

Yet air that’s too humid can cause mildew and mold to develop, which can lead to a host of health problems along with damage to the house.

Humidifiers, when used correctly, can help maintain the perfect level of moisture in the air (between 30 – 50%), and especially for people who manage COPD and other chronic lung diseases, can foster easier breathing, reduced irritation of nasal passages, and also the ability to more successfully expel phlegm in coughing.

In addition, using a humidifier overnight can decrease congestion and snoring, help reduce the level of any allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air, and even soothe an itchy scalp. Again, be careful to ensure the amount of humidity does not exceed the ideal range, which could result in disrupted sleep patterns. 

There are a variety of different types of humidifiers available:

  • Central humidifiers, which are built within the house's central air conditioning/heating unit; the most costly option, but one that benefits the whole home rather than only one room
  • Impeller humidifiers, using a cool mist, that is a safer option because it can’t cause burns; it can, however, trigger allergic or asthmatic problems if overused
  • Evaporators, blowing air through a dampened filter; an affordable choice, but can be problematic if allowed to add an excessive amount of moisture into the air
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers, using vibrations to produce mist in either a cool or warm option; available in a range of sizes
  • Steam vaporizers, which are typically the least expensive and most portable option; water is heated and then cooled before being discharged into the air

Speak to a doctor about the benefits of a humidifier in your loved one’s specific circumstances, and which kind is recommended. 

Amy’s Helping Hands, providers of trusted Windsor-Essex senior care services, is here to assist individuals with chronic medical conditions like COPD, or just the issues inherent in normal aging, through an array of home care services. Give us a call at 519.915.4370 or contact us online to discover how we can help you breathe easier with trusted in-home support.