If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or another chronic lung condition, humidity affects you more than it does the average person. Humidity describes the amount of moisture that’s in the air, both indoors and outdoors. Monitoring the level of humidity inside your home can help you manage symptoms of COPD and prevent flare-ups.
Humidity Levels and COPD
Both high and low humidity levels can cause increased respiratory symptoms and flare-ups in people with lung disease, allergies or asthma.
High humidity causes the air to feel thick and dense, and the body must work harder to breathe. The increased oxygen and energy requirements can leave you feeling more fatigued and short of breath. Humid conditions also foster the growth of mold, which thrives in moist, warm environments. Mold growth in your home can cause airway irritation and respiratory symptoms.
On the other hand, low humidity causes the air to feel dry. Dryness irritates the respiratory passages and sinuses, and it increases the risk of spreading viruses like the flu.
Optimal Indoor Humidity Levels
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that indoor humidity levels remain below 60%, and ideally between 30 to 50% at all times. You can check your indoor levels at home by purchasing a hygrometer, which is a device that measures the humidity in the air.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers Can Help Control Indoor Humidity
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are 2 machines that can help keep your home at optimal humidity levels.
- Humidifiers add moisture to the air in the form of vapor or mist. They are most helpful during the fall and winter when the air is drier and colder.
- Dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air. They are most helpful during the spring and summer when the air is denser and hotter.
As useful as these machines are, there are downsides to using them too much. Overuse or improper use of humidifiers or dehumidifiers can cause increased respiratory, allergy and asthma symptoms.
Overusing a humidifier can release too much moisture in the air and promote the growth of mold, spores and bacteria in your home. Additionally, not cleaning the equipment well or often causes bacteria to grow inside the machine. You can contract humidifier fever (or hypersensitivity pneumonitis) from colonized bacteria in a humidifier. Symptoms of the illness can include lung inflammation, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and body aches.
Overusing a dehumidifier can cause the air to become too dry, which increases respiratory, allergy and asthma symptoms. Viruses and infections are easier to catch and transmit when the air is dry.
Lung Health Institute Offers Treatment for COPD
Lung Health Institute has treatment options designed to help you Breathe Easier™ with chronic lung disease. Our cellular therapy uses your body’s own cells to potentially decrease inflammation within the lungs and prevent further lung damage. Cellular therapy may help reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms and help you maintain a meaningful quality of life. Our patient surveys found that 91.6% of patients report a positive outcome at 3 months following treatment.*
For more information or to schedule your free consultation with one of our medical providers, contact a Lung Health Institute patient coordinator today.