I hate the approach of winter as the season makes it harder to breathe, and can make mobility harder. Do you? Today’s blog is written to offer some advice I have learned that hopefully will make your life that little better.
The first thing to realise is just like hot days is bad for us, so is cold. Cold constricts your respiratory system making for more laboured breathing. Cold will leave you more open to infection, and worse still, pneumonia. If possible both for your safety and comfort keep your home above about 68F (20c) by day. I often say I don’t do cold. The reason is I know the importance of keeping warm to protect myself. My home is a constant 70F (21c) or a little above by day. With the heat turned down to about 66F (18c) at night.
We have to move our bodies. Even if restricted by outside weather. But before you do any exercise indoors or out you will find you will breathe easier, and your task is more enjoyable, if you take a couple of puffs of your rescue inhaler a few minutes before you are going to do any exercise. Keep your pump with you at all times. And learn the rule for an easier better life.
Another big mistake I made until told the correct way by my respiratory nurse is in the use of oxygen. I use o2 for mobility. I used to rise from my seat at rest, put my cannula on and move. Wrong move. For an easier life put your cannula on with your oxygen flow a couple of minutes before rising to oxygenate your blood first. You will be amazed how much easier this makes life if like me you only use oxygen for mobility.
Another problem we have is breathing becomes harder in winter. Sometimes we feel like our lungs are heavy and we are sucking in lead air. I am sure if you are stage 3 and 4 for sure you know what I mean. There is a reason , and to an extent a cure.
Before I became disabled by emphysema I used to do a lot of walking up mountains, and across very high ground. As proved by a portable barometer I once took with me as you climb, air pressure becomes lower. And lower air pressure means less oxygen. This is plain sometimes when I climb one of my local mountains on a super scooter (cart) that lets me ride rough ground. I don’t need oxygen seated. But quickly found much above 1700 foot I do, seated or not. Less pressure equals less oxygen.
During winter we often get deep depressions with very low air pressure. This air then has lower oxygen content, but with less pressure is harder to get o2 into your bloodstream. This is the reason you may find your breathing harder and sometimes if on oxygen you need more during winter. When there is a storm about be aware.
During winter humidity is higher outdoors. Humidity above 70% is classed as wet air and can be damaging both to your home and health. When you rise in the morning the wet on the inside of your windows is excess moisture inside the home condensed on the cooler window pain.
Hospitals in the UK have low humidity inside their walls for good reason. High humidity causes mould to grow, airborne germs and bacteria to thrive, and dust mites too. Lower the humidity is death to all these as they struggle in humidity below 60%.
Mould is dangerous to us as the spores in damp air can get in our lungs and make us ill. Opening the window will not help a lot as although the humidity in your home maybe 78% – outside it might well be 94%. But will in winter in just about all cases be higher than in the home. Is it any wonder that cold, low pressure, and humidity makes our life so much harder, and more miserable.
You can lower humidity by using a dehumidifier. I have used one for many years now and it makes an amazing difference to my home and comfort. And am often equally amazed by just how much water is sucked out the air. If you can afford to I would recommend you buy a de-humidifier. My home would have a much higher humidity that would make my lungs feel like lead without. I run my machine for an hour in the morning and two in the evening during the cold months, although how much you would need to use yours depends on many factors including build and weather. My home in winter is kept to a comfortable 60% humidity.Remember. Winter is our enemy. But there are ways to fight it.
I hope this short blog has given you a better understanding of how winter weather hurts us. And ways to combat that. If this blog helps just one person I consider it worth writing.
Whatever you are doing. Remember to be positive. Smile and watch that happiness returned. But most of all. Till my next blog, Breathe easy.