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Friday, May 30, 2008

Chronic lungers and fans go hand in hand

When I was a child and having an asthma attack I would open my bedroom window and get instant relief. Sure it wasn't much relief, but it did make me feel a little better. As I grew older I found that I'd have the bedroom window open a lot, even in the middle of winter.

One summer my parents gave me a fan, and I ran that fan every time I was having trouble breathing too, and eventually I learned the soporific drone of the fan was a good sleep aid, and that habit runs to this day, even though my asthma is now under control.

I never thought anything of this, but when I went to RT school I had a classmate who also had asthma, and she too used a fan the same way I always did.

Then when I became an RT I found that many asthmatics and COPD patients have to have that fan blowing in their faces. It's almost to the point whereas when a patient comes in who's SOB I habitually ask them if they want a fan. "Yeah," many say, "I always have one at home."

They also more often than not have the window open and, especially if its humit, the air conditioner on. I've seen this with asthmatics, COPD and CF patients.

In fact, if you go into a room that is ice cold, chances are it will have a chronic lunger it it.

RT Cave #14: If you have a chronic lunger, expect that the room will be cool, a fan will be on, and/or the window will be open. You may find yourself looking around in all the dark ends of the hospital for a fan.
Is this a mere coincidence, or is there some reason people who have experiences being SOB like fans.

I can't remember where I read this, but some magazine about ten years ago had an article about how your face has receptors that are responsive to the wind. When the wind hits these receptors your lungs dilate ever so slightly.

I have never seen any information about this since. However, it would seem to make sense. It's a nice theory of mine I like to share with my patients who "have to have a fan."


keepbreathing said...

That's interesting now that you mention it. Even though my asthma doesn't bother me all that much, I still find that it's noticeably easier for me to breathe in a cool place or with a strong wind than it is when the air is hot or still.


frylime said...

wow, that is interesting. having asthma myself, i always sleep better when i have a fan on or the ac. maybe it's also because where i live it's really humid, and those things help bring down the "sticky factor".