Humidity in the air can make the air seem denser, which can make breathing more difficult. For people who have been diagnosed with COPD or other lung conditions, this denser air can sometimes worsen the symptoms of chronic lung diseases. So, the simple answer to the question “Can humidity make COPD worse” is yes.
How does humidity affect COPD
There are many ways that patients with COPD can be impacted by high-humidity in the air. Dr. Phillip Factor, Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, states, “Many patients with COPD have a component of asthma and some of those patients prefer warm, dry climates while others prefer more humid environments.”
That’s because humidity affects everyone differently. While moisture in the air can sometimes make breathing more difficult, it can also help to clear the sinuses. Think back to when you were a kid, and you slept with a humidifier in your room whenever you got sick. The moisture in the air helped you breathe. The same is true for about 40 percent of COPD patients who have said that they prefer climates with slightly higher humidity.
A few considerations for living in higher humidity climates with COPD
While some patients who have been diagnosed with COPD prefer higher humidity climates, there are a few more risk factors that come with humidity that you should consider. The main risk factor for healthy breathing is the development of mold. Mold is more likely to grow in areas that have high humidity as opposed to drier areas.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers some suggestions about how to reduce humidity:
- Keep the humidity level in your home between 30-60 percent. Hygrometers can help measure the humidity in your house to make sure it stays in this optimal range.
- Appliances that produce moisture, such as dryers, stoves and kerosene heaters, should be vented whenever possible.
- Only use air conditioners and de-humidifiers as needed – try not to keep them constantly running.
- Always run the bathroom fan or open a window after showering.
Another risk factor to consider with humidity and COPD symptoms include the development of smog. Like mold, smog is more likely to develop in humid areas, as reported by the Advance Healthcare Network. The density of smog in the air can certainly making breathing more difficult, especially for patients who have been diagnosed with COPD.
Breathe Easier with COPD
There are many things that can trigger difficulty breathing for patients who have COPD, not just humidity in the air. While there is no cure for this condition, there are treatments available to help reduce your symptoms. At the Lung Health Institute, we offer cellular restoration treatment that helps to target and reduce inflammation in the lungs so you can Breathe Easier. To learn more, contact one of our dedicated Patient Coordinators today and ask about our free consultations.