COPD: Dangers in Your Home

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you are probably aware that smoking can make your condition worse and may have even been the cause of your disease. But did you know that there are other dangers in your home that can make your symptoms and disease worse? Carpets, air ducts, chemicals, and fireplaces are just a few of these in-home threats. (1) Some of these culprits are part of your home and everyday living.

Carpets and air ducts for heating and cooling systems may contain dust and dirt that make you feel worse. If your home has air ducts, have them cleaned regularly to avoid them blowing dust and dirt into your home. If you can, get rid of rugs and carpets, as they trap dust and dirt. If you cannot get rid of your carpets and rugs, have everyone leave their shoes at the door to avoid tracking dirt around the house. Also, have someone without COPD vacuum regularly. (1)COPD: Dangers in Your Home by Altra Service Professionals

We all want our homes to be clean. And to do so, we use cleaning products, which may also make COPD worse. Any cleaning product or other product that gives off fumes can make a person with COPD have more difficulty breathing. Look for “green” cleaners made from plants that are not irritating to humans, or “old-fashioned cleaning agents like soap and water, baking soda, and vinegar.” (1) Be aware of other items in your home that give off fumes, such as perfumes, scented soap and clothes that have recently been dry-cleaned.

Many people who have COPD use oxygen therapy. If you are using a nasal canula with your oxygen therapy, make sure you clean it at least once or twice a week. (2) There are prongs as part of the canula; replace these every two to four weeks. If you have a cold or flu, replace the prongs as soon as your symptoms disappear.

A few other areas in your home can cause problems, as well. Fire places or wood stoves produce a lot of dust. Showers or basements that are left damp can cause bacteria and mold to grow. (1) Pets bring in dirt and produce dander that can affect people with COPD.

Be aware of what triggers worse symptoms in you. Most indoor threats to people with COPD can be minimized with regular cleaning. Just be careful with what you use to clean your home.

Laurie M. DeChello, MPH, CPH

 ASP does not provide medical advice. If you have questions about your illness or treatment, please contact your doctor.

Works Cited

1. Freeman, D. Household Hazards for People with COPD. [Online] 2009.

2. Healthwise. How to use oxygen therapy. [Online] 2010.




Laurie DeChello, MPH, CPH is the health educator and a co-owner of Altra Service Professionals, Inc. Laurie writes a health blog for the ASP website regarding issues related to respiratory illnesses and treatment. She is a certified technician repairing ventilators and sleep apnea equipment. She also assists in keeping the office running smoothly. Laurie previously taught courses in the health sciences with Kaplan University. She also taught public health courses at the University of Connecticut and performed epidemiologic research (the spread and control of diseases) also at the University of Connecticut for 11 years. She is widely published in the medical literature. Laurie lives in Florida with her amazing husband, two adorable boys and numerous animals on their small farm. She enjoys cooking and entertaining at her home. Laurie has her Master’s in Public Health and is also Certified in Public Health. If you have a public health question or would like more information about your illness, please contact her at She is also available to develop and lead health seminars.