High Humidity Days
When I woke this morning, I heard the rain against my window. It was cold inside which meant it had turned colder outside. I took a deep swallow and checked my breathing. Rain like this brings an increase in humidity, and when humidity is high, I feel like I am breathing underwater. So, I know what to expect because I have journaled many days like this and the result is predictable.
Sensitive to weather changes
I wheeze and pant for air and I have very little energy. It is not easy when you have COPD. So many of our symptoms are out of our control. I have found in the past that I am very sensitive to weather changes, especially when humidity is involved.
This day, breathing is not too bad. Mainly, I think, because I use a BiPap at night with supplemental oxygen. It helps me to breathe when I go into that deep REM sleep. The best thing is that it helps to remove C02 or carbon dioxide that builds up from poor lung function.
As I get up from bed, I search the weather report. The entire weekend is going to continue with wet and rainy conditions and an expected humidity of 90%. Wow, this is not a great forecast for those of us with COPD and breathing problems.
A day to rest
When I was first diagnosed with COPD, I thought that on days like this I was having an exacerbation. I would start my action plan of steroids and antibiotics and wait to get better. It turned out that I was not, in fact, having an exacerbation, just a little bit of heavier breathing from high humidity. So now, on days like this, I give myself a break. It will be a day to rest and read in bed with my BiPap as the weekend moves on.
Since I rest and don’t push myself during high humidity times, I am still able to do some exercising closer to the evening or dinner time. It is a matter of listening to what your body is telling you. If I don’t feel like I can exercise then this will be a skip-day for me. I try not to have more than 2 skip days a week but sometimes it can’t be helped. Even though the spirit is willing, the body is sometimes just too weak.
Nothing else can get in the way
These are the days when I know that I must partake in self-care for me and nothing else can get in the way. This is not only because of COPD but also because I am in heart failure. If I try to push myself too far and do too much, I will end up with low oxygen levels and that serves nobody.
I also must be careful of my nutrition on high humidity days. I am using so much energy to breathe that I want to make sure that my body can keep up. I don’t want to be eating a diet high in carbs or sugar because this makes my shortness of breath worse. I concentrate on protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins. These are the things that I need to keep going on high humidity days.
How does humidity affect your COPD and breathing? Share with us here!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?