Being diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a scary thing. There's not much that's more frightening than being unable to breathe, and difficulty breathing is one of the main symptoms of COPD. COPD isn't curable, and even with treatment, the symptoms can get worse as time goes by. However, if you begin treatment early and learn to avoid things that trigger flare-ups of your symptoms, you can significantly delay the worsening of the disease. Optimizing your home to promote good breathing is a great way to start. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Air conditioning can be a big help to COPD sufferers, because it can reduce the humidity in the house. Excess humidity can make breathing even more difficult for COPD patients. But a poorly maintained air conditioner can cause more problems than it solves.
Without regular cleaning and maintenance, mold and mildew can build up inside the air conditioner. Leaks within the air conditioner and condensation that results from running a cold air conditioner in a warm room are common causes of mold. Dust that builds up inside of the air conditioner helps to provide an environment that encourages mold growth.
You can do some of the air conditioner maintenance yourself. Change the filter regularly, and check the air ducts, cooling coils, and intake valves for signs of mold growth. Your air conditioner repair professional, like one from Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, can show you where to look for mold if you aren't sure. It's not recommended that you try to remove the mold yourself unless it's in an isolated and easy to reach area. Furthermore, accidentally inhaling mold spores from even a small and easily accessed area could exacerbate your COPD. Call in a professional for help instead.
Choose the Right Air Filtration System
An air filtration system can be a big help in removing contaminants from the air in your house. There are a number of different air filtration systems on the market, so it's just a question of finding the right on for your home.
- Electrostatic precipitators. These portable air purifying systems charge any particulate floating through the air, which causes them to drop out of the air stream. They're also less expensive to maintain than other types of air filtration systems, because they don't have filters that require changing. On the other hand, some of these air cleaners emit ozone, which can be harmful to the lungs and especially harmful for COPD patients.
- HEPA Filtered Systems. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) air cleaning systems do have filters that require regular replacement, and those can be costly. However, HEPA systems are also very effective at keeping air free of particulates. They're used in hospital clean rooms for just that reason.
- UV Light Systems. UV light systems emit ultraviolet rays that destroys the DNA of any microorganisms that are in the air by exposing them to radiation. This removes them from the air stream. Like HEPA systems, UV systems are often used in medical settings.
Eliminate Floor-Level Dust and Pollutants
Even with a clean and well maintained air conditioner and an air filtration system in place, you're going to be dealing with too many particulates in the air if your floor is full of them. Every time you step on a rug, you can release particulates and dust into the air.
Keep floor level particulates under control by eliminating any clutter on the floor that may attract dust, and by keeping the floors and carpets as clean as possible. A vacuum cleaner outfitted with a HEPA filter may be a good investment for you. Furthermore, you should consider having your carpets professionally steam cleaned a few times a year.
COPD is no fun, but with a little work, you can make your home into a sanctuary that is free of potential triggers that can cause a flare-up of COPD. Regular air conditioner cleaning and maintenance, good air filtration, and clean floors and carpets can greatly improve your quality of life.