How can the lives of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) be improved?
Good indoor air quality is important for everyone, but even more so for patients suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
COPD is a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. It is caused by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult for air to circulate through the lungs and for the body to be properly oxygenated during exercise.
Why does air pollution affect COPD patients?
Ambient air pollution may be enough to affect patients, but we spend at least 80% of our time indoors. Indoor air can be polluted by a wide variety of substances, including dust, allergens and chemicals.
In addition to their specific toxicity, indoor air pollutants are irritating to the respiratory tract. These substances can trigger breathing difficulties and aggravate COPD symptoms such as breathlessness, coughing and sputum production.
What advice can be given to improve the lives of COPD patients?
By improving indoor air quality, COPD patients can improve their respiratory health and reduce the frequency of respiratory distress.
There are a number of things that COPD patients can do to improve indoor air quality in their homes, including:
- Eliminating Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in paints and glues, solvents, household products, home fragrances, candles and incense, essential oils, etc.
- Limit the accumulation of dust and prefer damp cleaning with cloths or a steam cleaner
- Ventilate regularly, as outside air is less polluted than inside air
- Avoid rugs, carpets and fabric coverings
- Wash bedding regularly with unscented detergents
- Treat the air in the busiest rooms with a purifier equipped with HEPA and activated carbon filtration technology.
Cigarette smoke is obviously one of the worst things for COPD, so it's essential not to smoke in the presence of someone with COPD.
What tests should be carried out to check indoor air quality?
IAQ tests can help people with COPD to identify sources of pollution in their indoor environment and take action to reduce their exposure. They are also useful for assessing the effectiveness of measures put in place to improve indoor air quality.
To monitor indoor air quality, purchasing an electronic sensor to measure indoor air quality is a good option. Real-time alerts mean you can take immediate action to improve indoor air quality and prevent respiratory distress.
The parameters to be monitored as a priority are fine particles (PM10 or PM2.5), VOCs, nitrogen dioxide (mainly an outdoor source) and ozone. These pollutants are known to irritate the respiratory tract.
Additional laboratory analysis is also recommended to identify the nature of the indoor air chemicals present in indoor air and dust.
If you have COPD, it is important to talk to your doctor about the quality of the indoor air in your house or flat. He or she can help you put a plan in place to improve air quality and reduce your exposure to air pollution.