A woman with a concerned expression is covered in smoke.

Where There’s Smoke

Last updated: September 2022

Looking out the window, I noticed smoke billowing from a house half a block behind ours. My husband saw it just before I did.

Strangely, I didn’t smell smoke. I still blame Covid for my inability to smell or taste very much.

The following day, I went to open the bathroom window. Oh my, the heat and humidity took my breath away. Seriously so. Thankfully I had a rescue inhaler nearby.

The weather can impact health

My thinking tells me that all the water used to put the fire out on the house significantly contributed to the intense humidity.

My heart goes out to anyone affected by the weather's barometric pressure and humidity.

Most people will never understand how something as simple as summer humidity, the effects of a thunderstorm, or even winter’s cold temperatures can affect your lungs.

Typically smoke would have affected me more than it did. However, the water likely minimized it.

There are so many things that can make it hard for us to breathe. Some may even cause an exacerbation.

What is an exacerbation? An exacerbation is a flare-up or episode when your breathing worsens and may worsen without extra treatment.

What are some known exacerbation triggers?

Some things can affect a person’s breathing and potentially trigger an exacerbation. Here are a few:

  • Heat.
  • Cold.
  • Humidity. Inside and out. I even found a home for my aquariums because they put so much humidity in the air that they affected my breathing.
  • Dry air.
  • Dust, inside and out. Even when walking on dusty or dirty carpets
  • Unchanged furnace filters make it difficult for air to circulate
  • Cleaning products used to clean houses, furniture, and even cars.
  • Air fresheners used in home and cars
  • Candles. Those that are burning and those that aren't. Both ways, they carry a scent.
  • Musty smelling books.
  • Mold.
  • Shopping. Yes, shopping! The laundry and cleaning aisles at stores. Cosmetics, perfume, candles, and personal product aisles. As well as the gardening and animal products, the automotive department, tire aisles, and individual items.
  • Public restrooms or those located in stores. The restrooms are often heavily scented with sprays. Is there any wonder some of us don’t shop in actual stores?
  • Friend and relatives' homes. They may have plug-in air fresheners or carpet powder that gets vacuumed up.
  • Freshly mowed grass, swathed hay, sprayed or combined fields.
  • Even a skunk sprayed near a highway caused me to cough and cause breathing difficulty. Crazy, isn’t it?
  • Allergens. My doctors assumed that my allergies were my main triggers for COPD exacerbations.
  • Stress.
  • Pets can affect persons breathing, or they may even trigger an allergic reaction. Birds have been known to affect those with COPD because of the preening of their feathers.

Many of these items affect me. Do they affect you?

Can you think of others?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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