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What Does It Mean?

We know that scents can really affect our breathing and our COPD. So, we buy the “free” product, which is supposed to be scent-free. Why is it that one time it’s okay for us to breathe, yet the next time it makes it difficult to breathe? It’s supposed to be fragrance-free. All products are made with chemicals and some may have different ingredients or amounts of these ingredients. We actually react to the chemicals in the products, not just the reduction of “scents”. Some of the same chemicals are used in the “free” which is supposed to be scent free.

What is safe to use? How do we trust any products?

  • Going back to the homemade and old reliable products still have it! What are they? Baking soda, vinegar, bleach, and water. Bleach can be very hard on us COPDers, I am unable to use it, but my hubby can use it when I’m away.

Why do they say to use distilled water in your oxygen humidifier, CPAP, and other equipment?

Distillation is a process that boils the water. The steam is condensed back into a liquid to remove impurities and minerals. Deionization removes salt and other mineral ions (molecules) from the water. Side effects of distilled water if you are wanting to drink it:

  • Distilled water doesn’t contain calcium, magnesium and other minerals. So it tends to pull them from other sources that it may touch, including your teeth.
  • Distilled water is purified and has chemicals and contaminants removed. Even though purified water has had chemicals and contaminants removed, it might still contain minerals. Purified water is filtered through reverse osmosis, distillation, and deionization.
  • Distilled water has been stripped of minerals. Because of this, it’s often used in cars and household appliances, such as steam irons, watering plants, and aquariums. It is also used in certain medical devices, such as CPAP, which is a continuous positive airway device for sleep apnea, humidifiers on oxygen machines and more. Directions will usually specify “use distilled water”. If not, do ask the supplier or store attendant what the recommendations are.

These items also need to be cleaned regularly to prevent infections

Be sure to follow instructions that come with each item. You can call the company or search online for the instructions as well. Don’t forget to change the filters that may be used with each of these items.

  • Oxygen masks
  • Nasal cannulas
  • Spacers
  • Nebulizers
  • Nebulizer masks
  • Inhalers
  • Flutter valves
  • Humidifiers
  • Maybe even a harmonica

While we are cleaning, let’s not forget our hands

Our hands touch money, cell phones and doorknobs. They touch keyboards and light switches, handles and more.

  • Wash your hands frequently, not just when they are dirty. Wash them before, sometimes during, and after eating. After you use the restroom. Wash when you cough, sneeze, and blow your nose. Before and after you eat and/or drink, as well as preparing food. Touching another person. Think of that doorknob, the handles and more.
  • There is a way to properly wash your hands: Wet your hands with warm water, add soap then thoroughly rub your hands, for 20 seconds. Rinse in warm water. Dry your hands with warm water and dry thoroughly with a paper towel, when finished, turn off the water with that paper towel. Dry your hands, then use the paper towel to turn off the faucet, then use that paper towel to open the restroom door.

Which COPD-friendly products have you found? Share with us here!

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

  1. Can You Drink Distilled Water? Side Effects, Uses, and More. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Nicholson, A. (2015). Practicing Good Hygiene. Retrieved from