The official blog of the Lung Institute.
How can you Prepare for Winter?
No matter if you live in Florida or Montana, the winter months come with added stress and complications for people that suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The shift in the weather can cause your disease to react harshly and make symptom flare-ups more sever and regular. However, you can prepare yourself by setting up your house for a winter with COPD.
Why Does COPD Worsen During the Winter?
The winter weather itself does not make having COPD any easier. For people who live in an area that sees heavy snowfall and cold days, they face an extreme environment each time they exit the house. Walking outside in the cold wind and through the snow is very trying for someone with COPD. The cold weather evaporates energy from a healthy person, someone with COPD is already constantly tired, so any added strain is very difficult. The use of indoor heating is very common during these months as well.
How to Prep Your House for Winter
First, you should look closely at the manner in which you heat your home. If you use a wood or gas burning fireplace, make sure your chimney is working to its full potential. Residual smoke in the air can be extremely harmful to your lungs, especially if you have a lung disease like COPD. Even a furnace can cause you breathing problems if the filters have not been replaced. Take a look at your air filters and make sure to change them out if you think you will be using the furnace heavily. Baseboard and radiator heat should give you little problems as they relate to air quality. To be on the safe side, look into an air purifier for the rooms that you spend the most time in, like your living room and bedroom.
Unfortunately, the heat commonly causes the air to dry out in your home very quickly, which means trouble for people with COPD. They need to have a regulated amount of humidity in the home to help keep their lungs functioning as optimally as possible. Investing in an air humidifier can also be a huge plus to have around during the winter months. There are many products that both purify and regulate the humidity in the air.
Treat yourself and Treat your Lungs
Probably the best thing you can do to ward off the damaging effects of winter on your COPD is to seek a progressive treatment plan. Completing COPD exercises and being on a strict diet can help slow the progression of your disease, and prescription medicine can also be helpful. However, there are very few ways to regain lung function. The Lung Institute is one of the few locations in the nation that offer stem cell therapy to treat COPD. The stem cells used by the Lung Institute are autologous, which means they come from the patient’s own body. The stem cells are extracted from bone marrow or the patient’s own blood (venous) depending on the patient’s current condition and health history. Adult stem cells have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells, so when the stem cells are returned to the patient, they will target the damaged tissue, which leads to improved lung function in patients with a chronic lung disease. The minimally invasive, outpatient stem cell procedures are changing lives by helping patients breathe easier.