Many people in the community have talked about the discomfort and challenges of showering when one has COPD. So we asked our experts for their ideas on the topic. Check out what they had to say to the following question, and add your own comments below!
It feels like I’m suffocating in the shower. Do you have any ideas on what can help me?
Response from Leon
Actually, many people with COPD express this concern about the difficulty they have while showering. The issue of shortness of breath (SOB) is related to the high humidity in the shower, as is the effort expended to actually conduct your personal cleaning and hair washing. All this can contribute to the difficulty breathing and SOB you feel while showering. In addition, the effort and energy needed to dry oneself completely after the shower may also be too strenuous for someone with COPD. Here are some suggestions and tips that you may find make showering more manageable:
Response from Lyn
Usually this is the result of a combination of things – the humid air from the hot shower and the effort you’re expending to take the shower. Here are a few suggestions to help conserve your strength and not become so short of breath.
- Buy a shower stool or chair so that you can sit while showering.
- If you wear oxygen, wear it in the shower. You may have to add an extension to your oxygen hose, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
- Take your shower at your “best” time of day. For each person that will be different. But if you generally feel good in the morning, take it then. Plan your day so that when you’re done showering you can take a little while to recover – just sit and catch your breath.
- This may be a tough one if you’re like me and prefer a scalding hot shower – but if you can tolerate it, turn the water temperature down so that not as much steam is produced.
- Lastly, if you find you’re just too short of breath to dry off with a big, heavy bath towel, try using a couple of hand towels or just throw a robe on and let that do the trick without any effort on your part.
Response from John
There’s a couple options here. I will be assuming you’re already compliant with your COPD treatment program. One option is to get a shower chair, or even a hand held shower hose. You may also wear your oxygen while showering, which can help with breathing. If the humidity bothers you, make sure you keep the bathroom fan on, keep the door open, and open a window if one is available. This can help reduce humidity, making air easier to inhale.
How about you? Do you have any tips for showering with COPD? Please feel free to share your thoughts with others in the COPD.net community by adding your comments below!