Should Seniors and COPD Patients Use a Humidifier?

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Senior COPD patients can benefit from using a humidifier.

For seniors and those with lung conditions such as COPD, maintaining the best possible air quality in the home is vital. Air that is too dry, for example, can result in or exacerbate health problems such as:

  • Dry, itchy, or chapped skin
  • Nose bleeds
  • A scratchy throat
  • Dry eyes
  • Aggravated asthma, allergy, and cold/flu symptoms such as congestion
  • And more

However, air that is too humid can cause mold spores to develop, that can result in a host of health problems in addition to damage to the home.

Humidifiers, when used correctly, can help maintain the perfect level of moisture in the air (between 30 – 50%), and particularly for COPD patients and anyone with a chronic lung disease, can foster eased breathing, reduced irritation of nasal passages, as well as the ability to more efficiently expel phlegm in coughing.

Furthermore, using a humidifier overnight can alleviate congestion and snoring, help decrease the level of any allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air, even relieve an itchy scalp. Again, be careful to ensure the level of humidity doesn’t exceed the ideal range, which could lead to disrupted sleep patterns.

There are several kinds of humidifiers available:

  • Central humidifiers, which are built within the house’s central air conditioning/heating unit; the most expensive option, but one that benefits the entire home rather than only one room
  • Impeller humidifiers, utilizing a cool mist, which is a safer alternative since it can’t cause burns; it may, however, trigger allergic or asthmatic problems if overused
  • Evaporators, blowing air through a dampened filter; an inexpensive choice, but can be a problem if allowed to add too much moisture into the air
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers, using vibrations to produce mist in either a cool or warm option; offered in a number 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

Check with a physician about the benefits of a humidifier in your senior loved one’s particular circumstances, and which type is recommended.

CareWorks Health Services is here to assist individuals with chronic health problems like COPD, or simply the problems inherent in normal aging, through a variety of home care services. Give us a call at (949) 859-4700 to find out how our Huntington Beach senior services can help you breathe easier with trusted in-home support. For a full list of all of the communities we serve throughout Orange County, please visit our Service Area page.