Whether from allergies, COPD, or lung cancer, there are many conditions that bring on the very frightening symptom of labored breathing. If you or a loved one experiences frequent difficulty breathing, consult a healthcare provider. They may be able to recommend specific breathing exercises or medications that can help open the airways. Consider these tips that can be done at home to facilitate better breathing and ease the distress:
- Add moisture to a room or consider a humidifier.
- Eliminate or reduce strong odors which release chemical particles that can irritate the lungs such as bleach, paints, or perfumes.
- Find a better position. It may be helpful to raise the head of a bed, sit up straight or brace elbows on a solid surface, such as the arms of a chair.
- Institute a no smoking policy; eliminate secondhand smoke in the home.
- Plan the day so there are few activities, and time to rest. Pace yourself, even a shower counts as an activity.
- Remove dust and replace furnace filters frequently.
If the person you care for has a lung condition, there may be times when breathing is a challenge. Start by noticing patterns: is there a time of day, type of activity, or emotional state that triggers the difficulty? Is the person sitting, lying down, or standing?
Speak with your doctor
If these techniques don’t ease the difficulty, talk to your doctor. They may be able to recommend specific breathing exercises or medications that can help open the airways. Does your loved one like to sing? Believe it or not, joining a singing group might help. Or ask the doctor if there are support groups available. These can help people get appropriate exercise and provide opportunities to share tips about living with breathing limitations.