Are Humidifiers Good For COPD Patients? (How They Can Help)

Humidifiers can keep dry air moist, which can help people with breathing issues. Patients with COPD and other breathing issues like asthma can benefit from a humidifier to prevent dry air.

So we put together this guide on how humidifiers can help patients with COPD.

Understanding COPD

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. COPD is an inflammatory lung disease that causes restricted airflow in the lungs. It is characterized by an inflammation of the bronchial tubes.

COPD is generally caused by emphysema and bronchitis, but environmental things like smoking can also cause it. It is a long-term condition that results from continual stress and damage to lung tissue.

People who have COPD are also at an increased risk for heart disease and lung cancer, among other conditions.

Upper Body Lung COPD

What Triggers COPD at Home?

COPD can be triggered by several common irritants found in the home.

  • Cigarette Smoke
    COPD is often caused by long-term smoking and tobacco use. Tobacco smoke and other kinds of smoke can trigger COPD episodes and cause discomfort while breathing. Cigarette smoke, in particular, is a very common trigger for COPD episodes.
  • Dust
    Dust is another common irritant found in the house that can trigger a COPD episode. Dust and other particles irritate the lining of the lungs and the throat, triggering an inflammatory response. Therefore, reducing dust can reduce the risk of COPD episodes.
  • Chemicals From Household Cleaners
    Certain chemicals from harsh cleaning solutions such as bleach or ammonia can trigger an attack. These harsh chemicals can irritate the bronchial tubes and cause an attack. Certain types of cleaners are more likely to set off an attack than others.
  • Air Pollution
    Air pollution is another common cause of COPD episodes. Air pollution from large particulate matter can get in the brachial tract, inflaming tissues and triggering inflammation and difficulty breathing. In some cases, moving to an area with minimal air pollution is one of the best ways to deal with COPD.

Are Humidifiers Good for COPD Patients?

COPD is a challenging condition, and patients will look for any means to reduce symptoms and improve comfort. In general, humidifiers can be helpful for patients with COPD. Humidifiers can regulate the humidity of the air, so dry air will not irritate the lungs and cause inflammation.

However, there are some caveats. Humidifiers can trigger COPD incidents if they make the air too humid. When air is too humid, water droplets can condense on the bronchial tubes, which can also cause irritation. For COPD patients, the ideal humidity level is around 40% at 70 degree-F. Anything higher can cause irritation.

Here are the major types of humidifiers and a short description of each.

Whole House Humidifiers

Whole-house humidifiers, as the name implies, can humidify an entire house. These humidifiers have a coverage area of above 1,500 square feet and are meant to work for the whole house.

Impeller Humidifiers

Impeller humidifiers have a small disc that rotates to disperse water. These kinds of humidifiers can emit a 360-degree mist to get wide coverage.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Ultrasonic humidifiers use vibrations to spread mist. The central element oscillates rapidly in a reservoir of water, producing a fine mist that disperses around the room.


An evaporative humidifier uses evaporation and a fan to saturate the air with water and blow it out.

Steam Vaporizers

Steam vaporizers heat water to evaporate and release the steam to humidify the air. Steam vaporizers usually produce warm mist, so they may not be ideal for someone with COPD.

In General

Impeller or ultrasonic humidifiers are the best kinds of vaporizers for COPD patients. They do not heat the water and do not blow air that can heat it up. Steam vaporizers may not be a good choice because they heat water vapor.

Hybrid Humidifier (Fan and Heater)

How Important are Humidifiers to COPD Patients During Winter?

Humidifiers can reduce COPD symptoms during the winter. Dry, arid air is common in the winter, so a humidifier can improve air quality and improve comfort.

Humidifiers are also good for other members of the family during the winter as they can reduce the risk of colds and the flu, which are common during the winter. A humidifier can improve air quality and comfort during the winter and also reduce the risk of sickness.

How to Use Humidifiers for COPD Patients?

Here is how to maintain a humidifier.

  1. .Remove the water tank
  2. .Empty all water from unit
  3. .Empty and rinse water unit with gentle cleaning solution
  4. .Remove machine parts and clean them of mineral deposits
  5. .Replace the parts

You should not let your humidifier run when the tank is empty, as this can damage the components. You also should not place the humidifier in a place where it is in the way of foot traffic and is a tripping hazard.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Is a humidifier or dehumidifier better for COPD?

It depends on where you are. Choose the device that can maintain a humidity level of around 40% in your current situation. If you live in a humid climate, you might need a dehumidifier. If you are in an arid region, you may need a humidifier.

When should you not use a humidifier?

You should not use a humidifier when it is already humid outside as the high humidity can cause irritation. High humidity can also cause a COPD episode and other kinds of breathing issues.

What humidity level is bad for COPD?

A humidity level higher than 40% can present issues for those with COPD. Humidity can cause inflammation of the lungs. So make sure that your humidifier is not set too high.

Do humidifiers help with breathing problems?

Yes, humidifiers can help with certain breathing problems such as COPD and asthma. However, a humidifier is not a substitute for medical treatment for breathing conditions. You should talk to a doctor if a humidifier can help your breathing problems.

What is the best climate for someone with COPD?

The best climate for someone with COPD is a place that has a temperate climate and average humidity of around 10%-40%. Conversely, the worst climate for a COPD patient is an extremely dry and arid climate with a lot of dust and particles in the air.


COPD is a serious medical condition. In some cases, a humidifier can help with COPD symptoms and improve the quality of breathing. So if you have COPD, you should consider looking into getting a humidifier.

Last Updated on February 15, 2023

Josh M