The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Cold Weather Clothing for COPD
Cold weather can cause difficulties for anyone, but for people with COPD, changes in the weather can affect their health. Whether it is too hot or too cold, these changes can trigger symptoms. There are many reasons you have to brave the cold, such as going to work, walking to your car or enjoying the outdoors. Thankfully, there are ways for you and your lungs to stay warmer by wearing cold weather clothing for COPD.
Dress for Cold Success
Invest in some clothes you can layer, such as undershirts or long underwear. Wearing an extra layer or two can help keep your body warm and comfortable. Having a warm winter coat, gloves, socks and insulated boots are also a great idea to protect you from the cold. Another idea is to wear a scarf. Keeping your chest and neck warm can help you and your lungs function better.
Wear a Mask
Because the cold air can aggravate COPD symptoms, wearing a mask designed for people with lung disease could help you breathe more easily. According to The Wall Street Journal, an increase in symptoms for people with lung disease occurs because the “cold air is very dry, sucking moisture from bronchial passages and creating inflammation which narrows airways.” While more studies are needed to see if wearing a mask will ease cold weather symptoms, many organizations encourage people with COPD and lung disease to wear a mask.
There are masks made by various companies, such as Psolar, ColdAvenger and PolarWrap among others. Different companies offer diverse design and material options, but many of the companies use polar fleece, double layer fleece, neoprene or a combination of various fabrics.
Keep Oxygen Warm
If you need and use supplemental oxygen, you might notice that the oxygen becomes colder when you go outside in cold weather. One way to warm your oxygen is to keep the tubing underneath your shirt. Your natural body heat under your clothes will help keep the oxygen from becoming so cold.
Keep track of your medications and when you will need to refill them. Also, be aware of how much food and other supplies you have. By knowing what you already have and when you will need more of it, you can plan your time so that you can limit your time spent in the cold. If you need something but cannot go out to get it, you could call a friend or family member to ask for assistance. Make sure that the air filters and furnaces are clean so that your indoor air quality does not worsen your symptoms. If it is too cold outside and you do not feel comfortable, it is okay to stay inside where you are warm.
Staying warm in cold weather can be a challenge for anyone, but for someone with COPD, staying warm is important for better lung function. From wearing warm clothing to trying a specialized mask to keeping your oxygen hoses under your clothes, there are many ways to help you successfully manage the cold. The Lung Institute offers stem cell therapy treatment for people with lung disease, so they can have a better quality of life. If you or a loved one has COPD, contact us at (800) 729-3065 to learn more about treatment options.