High Humidity and Lung Health for all breathing problems

Posted by Merry, Volunteer Mentor @merpreb, Mon, Jun 17 9:43am

Hello- I become a hermit when the humidity is over 70%- and that's just sitting on my deck or watering plants on my desk. Today it's 100% humidity in my little niche of the world. And I don't like the smell of the air. My chest feels heavy and I feel like coughing, but try not too. This reminds me that I also have to curtail my activities, drink plenty of water and know my warning signs. When I started my lung cancer journey I didn't have anyone to turn to so that I could make things easier for myself. This is why I want to begin this discussion, to help those who don't know and for those who do to help make life easier for them.
Here are some warning signs that there is too much humidity int he air for you:

Warning signs differ with everyone but there are some universal ones:

trouble breathing- Having to use my chest muscles to help me breathe, more gurgling (wheezing) in my throat, worse coughing , skin color change (more bluish around the mouth) or if you have trouble doing anything (time for either an AC or call 911), swollen ankles or fever.
The best things to do for yourself is to get air conditioning for your house, or even one room where you spend the most time in. Make sure that you have your rescue inhaler available or anything else that you can use. Make sure that your clothing isn't constricting and drink water- lots of it. Try and eat light meals and eat fruit if you can to help with energy.
Without hesitation please cal 911 if you are in any distress. Ambulances and Fireman/woman are trained to respond and you are not "bothering" them. This is their job, volunteer or not. They chose to do this so you are not putting them out. And you can cancel them if things straighten out before they arrive.
High humidity is when there is more water (in any form) in the air than not. We aren't meant to breathe water so we don't get enough oxygen. Our lung's function is to help our bodies stay in balance and help with cooling. If we don't have enough oxygen then we can't cool our bodies and can get heat stroke from that. And the more our bodies need to work to do this hence the more tired we become too. Not a great situation.
We changed air/heat units with a great hepa filter system. There are many portable air conditioners out there now that are affordable. Please have a close friend or family member help you with this.
Fans are ok to cool a bit but do not aid in breathing better because all they do is swirl the humidity down.
What are some of the situations that you have found to help or make things worse?

Hi @merpreb, thank you for sharing.

I wanted to tag @joelars @joangma @waterboy @windwalker @migizii and @heathert as they may have thoughts on this.

Merry, if you have to be outside for activities when there is high humidity what do you do to combat the negative affects?

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Thanks @merpreb, the humitidity makes me feel quite pooped and heavy chested, I also find bending over, ie:to wash the dog, is difficult and I used to get the blue lips also. I wish I had found answers to these problems but I havent, look forward to any responses.

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@ethanmcconkey

Hi @merpreb, thank you for sharing.

I wanted to tag @joelars @joangma @waterboy @windwalker @migizii and @heathert as they may have thoughts on this.

Merry, if you have to be outside for activities when there is high humidity what do you do to combat the negative affects?

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@ethanmcconkey– Good morning Ethan. There are absolutely no activities that I HAVE to do outside when there is high humidity. High humidity effects are different for every person. I have to watch it when humidity levels go above 60%. Unless you are on oxygen there is nothing that you can do to combat high humidity except go into a building with air conditioning. What activities can you do if you find it very difficult to breathe?
When the air is hot there will be more moisture in the air. when it's cooler outside the air is denser and holds less moisture even if it's raining. It's still much less than if there was higher heat.
I would suggest that using a rescue inhaler about 15 minutes before going outside is a good start to see if you can move around without losing your breath or not being able to take a deep breath.
Some people are more effected by colder temperatures. You have to know what your triggers are so that you can really manage your health and what's best for you.
Here are a few things to think about to help:
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-tips-to-help-you-breathe-easier-in-hot-weather/

@heathert – Good morning to you. I imagine that you have a pulmonologist so you might want to ask her if there is a pulmonary rehab program in your local hospital or some place else. The program that I took was wonderful. They teach you all sorts of breathing techniques in all sorts of circumstances. Or you might google Pulmonary Rehab for your area. It's worth it. It has meant the difference between being house bound and not for me.
https://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/features/breathing-copd#1

We have never spoken. I have lung cancer, multifocal adenocarcinoma of the lung. This means that I grow more than one cancer at a time in my lung(s). My first cancer was in 1997. My last cancer was not quite 3 years ago.
You should never be in a position where your lips turn blue. That means that you aren't getting enough oxygen to keep all of your organs healthy. Instead of bending over, even to vacuum, side step or kneel. There are breathing exercise to help with this but I am not qualified to teach them. Do you know if you have a Pulmonary Rehab program near you?

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My husband was diagnosed with ild caused by dermatomyositis early last fall. The lung disease has stabilized, and he is doing well. We live in the Midwest, and this recent batch of heat and humidity was worse for him than the cold from the polar vortex last winter.

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@fuzzybadger– Welcome to Mayo Connect. I am so glad that you found us. I'm more bothered by humidity than cold too. Although I do have to really be careful if nose hairs freeze, lol
There really is no easy answers but to stay inside with AC. Is this what you do?

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My husband is the one challenged by all this. We have a/c in our bedroom, so he cuts his activity and takes lots of breaks there.

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I only have adult onset asthma, not cancer, but I live in MO and we have some dreadful summer days. I find that going in and out of the humidity, like a/c house–outside–a/c car–outside–a/c store, etc., is as bad as staying outside. Does anybody else notice this?
And, if you step out of your car and your sunglasses completely fog up, it is definitely too damn humid.

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@trainwreck54– Welcome to Mayo Connect. Any asthma's can have debilitating side -effects so "Only" shouldn't be an adjective for it! It can get serious and you do need to take care of yourself.
Going in and out of AC buildings always fogs up my glasses. Do you take any inhalers? Are you sleeping in your car?

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