Tips On Dealing With Our Disease

Beating the Heat | Cleaning Tips | Climbing Stairs | Comfort | Cooking and Nutrition | Dressing | Exercising | Gardening/Lawn | Going Out
Just Breathe | Leg Cramp or Restless Leg Syndrome/Pain  | No No No | Oxygen Tips | Personal Hygiene | Pests, Getting Rid of Pests
Reaching/Stretching/Pulling | Safety | Stuffed Nose, Plugged Up Chest | Tips to Quit Smoking | Tax Tips | Traveling | Using MDIs and other Meds

Please note that all new tips will be in red.


I keep a filled water bottle in the suv at all times - not to drink, but to cool off when I'm overheated and SOB. I spritz water from a plain household quart water bottle on my face, neck, and back of my head. To cool off and/or get my breathing under control. I was once so hot and SOB, I removed the sprayer and poured the entire contents over the top of my head.  Dripping wet and comfortable, breathing easy and feeling cool, I went back to the store and finished shopping. It works for me. Sharon O.

When I'm outside in the HOT weather, I usually wet a towel and wrap it around my neck.  When it dries out (sometimes in only an hour or so), I'll wet it again.  This help to keep my body temperature down. Donna - VA

I think this might help some of you cool off. Homemade Ice Packs You will need 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 2 zip lock bags and food coloring. Mix together, add food coloring - pour into one bag and seal, then place in the other bag and seal.  Label contents so that nobody tries to drink it.  It's great when you need an ice pack. gael/me

Here's a homemade air-conditioner: Fill a shallow pan with ice cubes and put it between you and the fan. Instant air-conditioning! Bunny

My chiropractor gave me a great idea when I was suffering in the heat a couple of weeks ago.  He suggested that if I needed to go somewhere in the heat to put an ice pack behind my back on the seat.  It really works! Karen B.

I know all of you will really want to commit me but I use a frozen bag of veggies, like peas, beans (small variety) and place them in a freezer bag. This way they don't sweat too much, can be placed wherever you need the coldness, and I keep at least two or three in the freezer at all times. Make wonderful ice bags in case of need for swelling but also will cool you down in a hurry. Charlotte

Another cooling idea. I had a doctor friend who grew up on a farm in Kansas. He said that his mother used to hang dampened sheets in front of the windows (with the windows open). It acts like a swamp cooler and any breezes coming in are cooled. The sheets have to be redampened rather often but it sure lowers the temperature indoors. Marlene CO

 I need a lot of water per day, so we take empty bottled water glasses & fill them about 12 full of water & freeze, then use them by adding water to them. It keeps water fresh & cold. use them at home & when go out too. Joanne

I keep a frozen bottle of water wrapped in a face towel next to my nightstand every night.  Couldn't live without it.  And I always have nice
cold water through the night and first thing in the morning. John P

In case anyone is interested in how I swim in pools at campgroups, motels, etc. It's a floating server (ice chest, drink holder) but it's perfect for tanks. My floating tank holder is from Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies Co. (online) #76729 Floating Cooler..$24.99. It will hold either an M4 or an M6 & keep them dry. Ellen/FL

Ellen with cooler             ice chest             Ellen with smiley ball and cooler       



Today I decided to pull up the adhesive tiles in my bathroom which were laid on linoleum. When it came to clean off the adhesive nothing worked. I used rubbing alcohol, soap and water, coke, a putty knife and a razor, and finally hubby went out and bought some adhesive remover which lung patients can't use. I finally resorted to baby oil. YES!!!!!! It worked like a charm. No harmful odor or chemicals to be careful of just arm power. Pat H/MA

Cleaners for Sensitive Noses

1)  Place a few slices of lemon, orange or grapefruit in a pot of water and let simmer for an hour or more for a nice citrus scent.
2) Soak cotton balls with vanilla or fruit extracts and put in a perforated jar or basket.
3) Soak a cinnamon stick with vanilla and place in dish or use as a car freshener.

Cuts grease and cleans countertops, baseboards, refrigerators and other appliances.  Combine in a plastic teaspoon borax, one-half teaspoon washing soda (a stronger form of baking soda available at supermarkets), two tablespoons white vinegar, or lemon juice, one-half teaspoon Murphy's Oil Soap and two cups of hot water.

Use on wood, tile or linoleum for a long lasting shine.  Mix one-eighth cup Murphy's Oil Soap, one-half cup white vinegar and two gallons warm water in a plastic pail.

1) Sprinkle water on the grimy spots, then cover with baking soda.  Repeat the process, and let sit overnight.  The grease and grime will wipe off clean the next day.  Use liquid soap and water to sponge away any residue.

* * *

2) Clean tip:  I know that we have a cleaning tip on ovens, but if you sprinkle baking soda, and then add vinegar on top of the baking soda and let your oven sit for a hour or two you can wipe up all the spills.  You don't even have to clean your oven.  It takes everything up.  My hubby baked a blueberry pie and it spilled over and what a mess.  He was going to run oven clean and I told him no - try this first.  He is an appliance repair man and could not believe it.  Oven is sparkling clean.

Pour one cup borax into the toilet bowl.  Let sit overnight.  Flush in the morning.  Stains and rings will lift away.

Scours sinks and bathtubs, and leaves no gritty residue.  Combine one-quarter cup baking soda and enough Murphy's Oil Soap to make a creamy paste.

In a plastic spray bottle, combine one-half teaspoon Murphy's Oil Soap, three tablespoons white vinegar, and two cups warm water.

Mix one-half teaspoon olive oil and one-quarter cup white vinegar or lemon juice in a bowl. Apply to cotton cloth.  Reapply as needed.

Half fill a sandwich bag with white vinegar and place over the shower head, submerging it in the vinegar and securing with a rubber band and let soak overnight.

Apply thin layer of mayonnaise and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to sit for an hour.  Remove the wrap and work the mayonnaise into the finish.

One of the best methods of dusting is to use a "tack cloth"--found in the paint department at a cost of 50 cents. Although very tacky to the touch, it leaves no film or residue and doesn't "push" the dust around. Just refold the cheesecloth and story it in a plastic bag between uses, it last a very long time. From John

Our cats shed year round.  I use a dampened scrub brush to lightly get the worse layer of hair off the chair/couch and then remove the rest with masking tape. It takes a bit of time unless you do it regularly but it will do a remarkable job getting the rest cleaned off. Ellen/Wa

One little tip I use with my swifter...I didn't do well with the smell of the papers that attached to it.  I bought a bag of those cheapie washcloths (12 for $5).  I just wet one of them, attach it, and swift away!  Works great...then I just throw the used one in the laundry! Vicki

I had gone to a class a while back, aimed to assist people with all sorts of breathing problems and they advised us to get rid of all blinds and get shades whenever possible.  Blinds are terrible dust collectors and are physically hard to wash and even dust.  I have replaced a good many of mine even though I like the look of blinds better than shades.  My health comes first. Best wishes, Virginia

If you use  paper towels and you don't want additional lint, use Viva - the only paper towel my painter friends use - no lint.  I have no financial interest ... Sharon O'WA

I use the sponge part of a mop in the bathtub to wipe off the walls, shower door, etc before I even get out.  (It's big enough to take a big
path at once) My daughter has one of those huge bathtubs.  She uses the whole mop to clean it (she sprays it down  with Scrubbing bubbles first) She says hers takes about 10 minutes! I use my swiffer for LOTS of duties here & there.  I also wash my mini blinds in the shower. Joy/MO

The mop id good for washing down painted walls too. We are going to be doing some painting but I notice how the nicotine has discolored them and decided to wipe them down with the mop. Much quicker and easier on my body. Pat H/MA

My favorite cleaning  cloth, The Miracle Cloth, found at Solutions Catalog, eliminates the need for any chemicals.
This is not the same cleaning cloth that is advertised on TV. Laura - MS

I keep reading that I should not vacuum or sweep (because of my COPD) and I live in a 4-room apt. with 3 cats!  This morning I remembered a tip that I learned from my grandmother.  Take a spray bottle of water and spray 6 or 7 shots of water on the bottom of the broom, and then sweep as usual.  The dust and fur sticks to the bottom of the broom, rather than filling the air with irritants!  It works fast and looks great, too! Beth NY

I sprang for a Shark Sweeper - it is electric and does pretty well on carpet and hard floors as well.  Gets right up to the edges.  It is lightweight and easy to use, but the only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to get the long handle off to use as a hand vac (for steps).  I love it! JJ

Liquid Tide or any brand I suppose, does a good job on tubs, cupboards etc. Cuts the grease and doesn't smell too bad. You don't need much.

I'm 6 1/2 years post transplant. I do wood working and other things that need painting. I have found that 99% of all water base paints are oder free. But if you have a problem, put a couple drop of vanilla in the paint. Works. My doctor did that when he repainted his office and no one had a problem. Paul B.

I put a small squirt of bleach in my dish water every time I do dishes. It kills all germs and keeps your sponge clean and also when you wipe your stove or counter tops it kills the germs. Be sure and scald dishes well. Keeps cups nice and white not stained. Ilean

Because the smell of bleach bothers me, I use baking soda for many things. Dishes, laundry, bath, brushing teeth, etc. PatH/MA

Someone mentioned the robotic vacuum that runs on it's own. I'm thinking of getting one as the older I get, the less I will be able to do. Also it will exercise the dog's when I can no longer take them for a walk. Don't forget the shower chair. There wonderful. Pat H/MA

I would like a recommendation on what is the best vacuum to use if you have COPD on our tips page. Appliances not to buy.. eureka bagless canister with hepa filter!!! had an awful day today because I vacuumed . I couldn't do anything all day SOB SOB SOB It's easy to push but the filter is next to useless. Had an upright with a hepa filter, phantom fury thing, big long filter on the side that one doesn't bother my breathing, but it's heavy and hard to take upstairs...... Linda

We have the Miele [vacuum] - very expensive, but absolutely wonderful - you can check for dust in the sunlight when you've vacuumed and you can see it has taken it all up. Can't recommend it enough. Rita

Howdy Linda: I have been using a Oreck with the Hypo Allergenic Filtering System. It has worked very well for us as it is extremely light ,,,,8 pounds and makes vacuming much easier due to the light weight. It has dual filters for filtering out dust particles or animal dander from the floors. The inserted bag does an excellent job then the outer bag that holds the inner bag is also a filter. You can vacum without a inner bag and
dust will not escape through the outer bag. I was able to vacum before I had my transplant and my lung funcition was 9%. It was hard but I could do it. I did most of the house work as my wife worked full time and I was at home just suckin up oxygen by the liter.....LOL so I had to do something. The Oreck cost $380 and you get the small portable vacum with the purchase at most dealers or even on line. Tony

For sweeping the floor, I've found that a broom with a pick-up dust pan attached to a pole of equal length works best. Like those used by professional cleaners. Eliminates the need to bend over while brushing the dirt into the pan.. Love, Rose in FL.

I find it easier to wash the floors by sitting or kneeling on the floor while I wash it. It also helps if the music is on. Wash to the music. Wash to the music, Yaa Yaa Yaa Doode Doodie Do, Funny Bee, Francine NY

This is one of my favorite breath savers. I have hardwood floors and I use a chair on wheels at my computer. There has been many time I have scooted to the kitchen or bathroom on my chair. The kids love to push me whereever I want to go. I don't do this unless I am having a very difficult breathing day. Walking is good exercise and a much better way if you are able, of course. Sharon A

I was working on our stove and dropped a wrench down behind it (back when I could) my grandson was playing near by with a claw type device that was about 18 inches long that had a handle on it and when you squeezed the handle, the claw closed. I used it to pickup the wrench and it worked fine. The next time we were out, I bought 2 of them for about 2.99 each and still have one of them. Makes it pretty handy to pick stuff up when you are SOB, tying your shoes or drop a sock (again, if you still tie your shoes). Checked at a local rehab store when I got my little walker and they had the same type only these would pick up 1-2 pound objects. The cost about $20.00 each. Gary

Another thing I learned in rehab was when you get up to leave a room, never go empty handed. This saves needless trips back and forth. IN GOOD HEALTH, BEVERLY

I agree attitude is essential to survival, however, I also find that as I cope with deteriorating lung function that I find new ways to do things I enjoy that take less energy and I think the most important thing I've learned is if I try it one way and it doesn't work and I still can't do it, not to quit and just say that I guess I won't ever do that again, but to keep right on searching for a way to accomplish it no matter even if I have to divide it into numerous days instead of one. Remember folks, it is the quality of our life that is important and I intend to keep finding new ways to keep that in my life.

It is important to get your air conditioning system cleaned often. It recirculates the air in a closed environment so all kinds of pollutants are in the duct lines invisible to the eyes. I am alwys shocked at what come out of mine and it is cleaned 4 times a year. I always change my filter and use very good filters also. It just builds up. Kay in NC


This bunch know I'm nutty. I said I find it easier to go up backward. Know what? They didn't say a word. Bet they laughed though...Thanks for the repeat. What's the skin the cat deal / more ways. Myrl

I have a 2 story house. There are 14 stairs. Some days I can go up and down fine. Other days it's harder. On the hard days I go up 3 or 4 stairs and do about a minute or 2 of purse lip breathing. I do this every 3 or 4 stairs. It works out fine. Irene Bertels

Using diaphragmatic & pursed lip breathing really helps. Stand still on a stair while inhaling fully. Exhale through pursed lips while rising two or three steps. Stop, stand still on a step, inhale, etc. Do not try to go from landing to landing for rests. You can rest & inhale on any step. Works for me. Frank NV

I guess you could say that I was lucky when I bought my house. I was already aware that I wouldn't be able to handle stairs; so as I looked, if I saw ONE step, the house was "out of my league." I don't go very many places with my current conditions, and if I do encounter steps or stairs, I do as Francis does, I do what I need to do to catch my next breath (one step at a time) then stop and breath. Then the next step, stop and breath. I DON'T CARE what anyone else thinks! Let them live their "normal" life. Just let me do what I gotta do to get up! Rotton Ron

When I am climbing a flight of stairs, I exhale. If I get too short of breath, I just turn around and sit on the next step up, until I get my breath back. If people don't like to see me sitting on a step, "Tuff-a-roo"! My breathing is more important! Fortunately, I don't have to face the stairs very often. I have 7 steps to climb to get to the car, but they are not very steep. Whenever it is hard for me, I just sit for a few minutes, and then make it rest of the way. Oh, the disadvantage of living on a hill! Frances-AR

Steps can be very hard, the secret is start with both feel together, take in a big breath using your tummy and diaphragm, as you lift your foot, start to breath out very slowly with pursed lips, not a pucker or a whistle look, just lips apart to form a back pressure to exhalation, when both fee are on the next step, draw in another breath and proceed. DO NOT use the railing to pull yourself up as this uses muscles needed for breathing.


Tom bought a wireless doorbell.  I keep the doorbell button by me when I'm sick, and he takes the ringer with him wherever he is in the house.  It's very comforting.  Barb

Elbow/Forearm Comfort:  I'm not real sure where I got this from, Though that's not important. Things you need are : Two pairs of socks, They can be any sort as long as they are a snug fit on your forearm, Cotton wool Needle and thread. Firstly cut the toes off the socks, Then put one sock inside another. So you have a tube made of two socks. Next sew around the edges of one end, So you still have a tube with one end of the socks sewn together. Then with your cotton wool, Start placing it in evenly. How much cotton wool you put in between the socks is up to you. I put about a 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, It will pack down eventually. When you have enough cotton wool in between your socks, You then sew the other ends together. Now you have the cotton wool trapped between the walls of the socks. So now you can pull it over your arm and just past your elbow. The second one is the same as the first. Kim.


According to Nobel prize winning chemist/physicist Linus Pauling, Dr. Andrew Weil & others is vitamin C is non-toxic & the only way to know if you have reached your bodies limit to process it is find you start having diarrhea. Then you should reduce your dosage until it goes away. Sam B

At Rusk, they started giving me a can of Pulmocare every day. I never did try it but I brought a couple of them home. It says "specialized nutrition for pulmonary patients, complete liquid nutrition, 355 calories." It's a high-calorie, high-fat, low-carbohydrate liquid food designed to reduce patient's carbon dioxide production. It contains 16.7% protein, 55.1% fat, and 28.2% carbohydrate. To order Pulmocare, call 1-800-986-8502. It's manufactured by Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories in Columbus, OH. Ethel

I've been on a lot of diets and they all stressed to drink at least 8oz. cups of water a day. They said that water supplies the fluid in the body and nutrients to the cells and carry away waste products to the kidneys for excretion. It really cleans the toxins out of the body and keeps the system running smoothly. It stops the retaining of water. Lona

All the tips I have learned from all of you...thank God. I only have one that I can think of off the top of my head. I bought 2 of those magnetic rack things from Walmart and put them on the side of my fridge...keeps me from stretching or having to reach for spices....not much to add to tips....but may may help someone. Love y'all, Kathy/VA

Good for many people anywhere but especially for us--drink lots of water, I think it was recommended that we drink at least 7-10 8-oz glasses per day. (Just don't try to drink them all in the last 4 hours before going to sleep at night --- unless you like trotting to the bathroom all night long!! Giles

I eat my meals standing at the kitchen counter where I can lean while eating. Much easier to eat and breath for me. Frank PA


I have a medic alert bracelet which came with a silver wrist chain.  We couldn't take enough links out of it to make it comfortable yet loose enough that I could unclasp it.  I bought a regular expansion watch band for $10 at the jewelry store and they adapted it for me.  It is great, slips on and off with ease yet stays in place when worn.  Just in case anyone else has this problem. Ellen/Wa

Another thing I have found to be helpful is the long button down the front dresses, there are some cute ones and they are comfortable, easy off and on, and not tight in the waist. Hugs, Evelyn in KS

On the suspender deal, unzip pants. Don't undo suspenders. Just slip them off over the your thing. Put them back, zip...and leave your sweetie out of it. Myrl

Getting my panty hose on is the hardest thing I can think of,,, worse then making the bed or taking a bath or shower..I can handle lots of stuff, but you guys are pantyhose!  That is a work-out in itself.  I always turn my O2 up a notch for that....and then do pursed lip breathing...Susan in NM

I wear a lot of slacks, shorts or long dresses—no panty hose for this gal. It took me awhile to start wearing the long drsses but they are a godsend and cool, too. I wear sandals that I can slip on—no buckles and I don't wear shoes that require tying. I try to have everything laid out on the bed and when I slip something over my head I put one arm in, take the cannula off and put the other arm in, put the cannula back on and finish pulling the dress on. That's quick and easy. Course, I have an advantage over some of you—I live in the sunny south! I also wear a lot of "big T-shirts and shorts and sometime skip the bra. I, too, have gone to get an ex-ray in just a shirt w/no bra. Sure makes life easier that way. I have even found that I can put my necklace in my mouth so I don't even have to take it off for a chest x-ray. There are millions of tips and several ways to do the same thing—it is whatever makes it easiest for you. Let's keep the tips coming. Breathe easy. Caro

This also works for guys—if I'm going to be x-rayed, I wear T-shirts—no buttons & no bra either. Sam-Ohio

A dressing tip and your oxygen cannula: Wear a loose fitting top that does not need to be tucked into your slacks. Then wear your oxygen cannula so that it is under the shirt. This kills two birds with one stone. You don't waste energy tucking in your shirt and your shirt hold the cannula in place. I find that my cannula has less of a tendency to come out of my nose when I am sleeping if I wear it under my nightshirt. During the day, if I need to take the cannula out of my nose for any reason, such as to blow my nose, I can just let it drop and free my hands because if it is inside my shirt, it won't fall to the floor, my shirt will hold it up. When dressing, put the cannula in your nose first, then put your shirt on over it. If you are already dressed,put the cannula under your shirt with one hand and use the other hand to putll it up through the neckline. It does wonders to keep the cannula in place and also helps manage the hose near the cannula. Sharon

I wore sweat pants and shirt to the Dr. about 8 yrs. ago. Doc pulled my shirt up to listen to heart and lungs. I said the bra was killing me. He told me to pull it off. I did and haven't had one on since. Look like the Liberty Bell, but oh, what a relief it is. Guess who???

I have noticed a growing trend that I don't like very much. It seems that all of the larger sized, gowns, dresses and robes go over the head and are extremely hard when you are SOB to put on things over your head. I am about to start buying material and start sewing again. Kit

Dressing has been a problem for me too and this is my routine now when I am having SOB problems: ALWAYS allow yourself plenty of time. Lay out all your clothes on the bed and sit on the side of the bed or in a chair near the bed. You can dress slowly a piece at a time, sitting most of the time. Rest in-between each piece if you need to. For the LADIES...If pantyhose bother you, use ankle-hi, knee-hi, or thigh-hi hose instead, and they are much easier to put on. Fronthook bras work best for me. Leisure bras are comfortable if you can wear them. Elastic-waist pull-on skirts and pants are easy to put on and comfortable.........BUTTON-FRONT shirts are easiest to put on, and good to wear to the Dr. No need to remove your cannula or muss your hair pulling a shirt over your head. When I put on a PULLOVER top I leave my cannula in place and after I have the shirt on, pull the cannula through. It only takes a second to be without the O2 this way. Slip on or velcro-close shoes. No bending to tie. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND COMFY.......Around the house I wear BIG, oversized T-shirts or mau-mau type thingies are cool for summer (and no bra...comfort is the keyword) ~Carolyn

If you wear a big T-shirt and no bra, you don't even have to put a gown on at the doctor's office. Mine just lifts up the T-shirt or goes under it. I have had an x-ray that way. JJ


Had an extension put on the handlebar spindle to raise it more. I am 6'4", so bought a bike with a 22" frame ( standard is 18" ), and then tailored the seat and bars for my height so I could sit upright.  Much easier to breathe when you are straight and relaxed.  Am now able to ride at 2 L/M without excessive puffing and keeping sats above 90%. Just past the 4 mile a day mark, and feel great after each ride. I do believe I have found a cure for emphysema!  My doctor claims my attitude is as important as my inhalers, exercising, PB, O2, etc. are.  It takes determination at first, but it works. Budd

To speed the time on your treadmill read a book or listen to a taped one. Linda W in NY

If you have your treadmill on carpeting, pick up a shelf or 2X2 inch board to go under the feet of the treadmill so it doesn't sink down into the carpet when you are trying to walk on it. Will play heck with your motor and belt. Gary

Float for Helios
Here is a photo (with permission) of an enthusiastic aquacise water exercise person.  She wants to get a smaller tube (this one is provided by the rec center) the middle there is styrofoam cut to fit the hole upon which her Helios floats very nicely.  She says she can do all the aquacize moves in shallow or deep water, and can back stroke and side stroke and it floats ever so nicely after her...with a 7 ft cannula. Great idea.
...this pool float in the picture  for a Helios looks like the best method to me...and on 7 ft cannula.

On health has some exercises, some of which I did not know about. Try it. For those who have no knowledge of the breathing exercises, this is a good one. Art

Thanks Bob for the info on the Nu-step. Another member have me a site for it with a phone number. Its a great machine. It cost $2,795.00 I guess I have to pass on that one. I heard another person say she had bout one for her personal use and loved it. I will stick to my treadmill...Esther

I have found that I have to have a regimen to keep me focused. After I have my morning coffee, I immediately check my e-mail BUT while doing this I use my breathing exercises, PEP, IMP and INSPIROMETER. After finishing, I do stretching exercises then lift weights and do upper body exercises. Then every other day, I go to the hospital to do lower body exercises on their machines. If I don't do these at the same time without fail, they have a way of being forgotten. Have to stick to a schedule and not let anything interfere. Tom Whitman EFFORTS-Florida

Hey...about gardening. I bought a "grasshopper" last year. It is a little storage box (plastic) on wheels. You can put all your stuff, gloves, trowels, fertilizer pellets, etc..scissors into the box and then you just roll with it. You sit on it. No leaning over. It is a great little item and I think are about $20. Well worth it. Carolyn Brown


Lawn Buddy works very well for gardening. I put my 02+conserver in the large compartment, garden tools etc. in small compartments, trudge across the yard, and SIT DOWN on the top to recover before I start working. PLB all the way. Pat in Santa Barbara

I discovered something today and thought I would share it. I have a self propelled Toro lawnmower and I cut my own grass I attached my small tank to the handle which kept me from having to carry it over my shoulder or around my waste and make me tired faster. And since my lawnmower is self propelled it worked great I wonder why it took me so long to figure it out. Happy cutting. Francine, Texas


I have and use M6 tanks for doing small chores, like grocery shopping, general shopping, walking the dogs, things that will take less than 2 hours.  I've never liked carrying the tank in the "shoulder bag" Lincare provides. You slip the sling over your shoulder and go.  I've been
finding that my shoulder has been in excruciating pain over the last several weeks.  I'm quite sure carrying that bag is the problem.  So yesterday, I started carrying it in a back pack, the one in the shoulder bag and a spare placed next to it.  It works great!  I find that it's much
easier to carry, helps my posture, isn't heavy, and I don't have it slipping off my shoulder every few minutes. Donna - VA

We travel quite a bit and my hubby rigged up a really neat way to handle the E tanks (gas).  He bought some 5" PVC pipe, cut it to the appropriate length to hold the tanks.  He took a flat metal bar and put it across the bottom. He holds the pipes together with a small screw/washer between each piece of pipe. This all slides to the far recesses of the trunk.  He takes a smaller, shorter piece of PVC pipe and puts over the ends to keep them from being turned on if bumped for any reason.   Our luggage, clothes, and generally his golf clubs, fit nicely in front of these yet leave the 02 bottles easily accessible when needed. He also made a holder for my M6 tanks which looks rather like a wine carrier.  Our Lincare person told him if he would like to make up a few they would be quite easy to sell. Ellen/Wa

George wrote, "Might be interesting to know the O2 content of various altitudes from 0 to 10,000 ft., anybody know where that info is available? George in Albuquerque

Awhile back I saw the figures for sea level and for 8,000' which is the altitude to which airplanes are pressurized. At sea level the atmosphere contains 21% O2, at 8,000' the O2 concentration drops to 17%. I am not sure what it is beyond that but I do know that it decreases at a decrease rate with increase in altitude.

Speaking of electric scooters in stores, I think its great that they are available for us, but it is so frustrating to go to all of the trouble to get out of the car, huff and puff to the store to go in and find that the only one they have is either broken down or hasn't been plugged in. So here is another tip for everyone. I keep a list of store and their telephone numbers in my wallet and call from my car phone to see if they have a scooter there and that is working. Works for me!!!! IN GOOD HEALTH, BEVERLY

Whenever you are leaving home always take an extra cannula. Keep one in your vehicle and one in your suitcase. Last Christmas while at Disney World mine got drug through the swamp water on the pirates of the Carribbean ride. Lucky for me I wasn't on O2 full-time. After finally locating a local hospital, a kind nurse gave us one and told my husband to tell the pirates to leave my cannula alone. He told her she saved his life. I have been away from home many time and never thought to take an extra cannula. Think Good Thoughts, Jan-KY

I go out a great deal with my tank behind me. Its not what I prefer to do but I have to if I want to go out. In the beginning it was difficult. I get no praise from people saying they are glad I can get out and do get out. Otherwise, don't set at home and mope. In the gym the people ask and want to know what happened and wy I use the O2. They think it is great that I would exercise while using O2. They often tell me of a relative who just wouldn't move. I really think the majority of the public is happy to see us still able to cope. Enough said. Thanks, Peggy Boggess

I learned yesterday that if you are going to a lab for blood tests and they know you have a problem getting around, they will draw the blood from you while you sit in your car!!! Imagine my surprise. I drug myself down to about 70 trying to walk back 14 miles down a long, long hall to the lab facility (ever notice they are the furthest from anything?) When I arrived severely SOB, they immediately did all the things about getting me to sit down, etc. At any rate they told me do come to the car anytime. All I need to do is to call them and they will come out to the car. Fancy that? Then she very kindly wheeled me back with their wheelchair down that now MUCH shorter hallway and out to my car. For your info the next time, you are going to just have blood drawn. Gary

If you are planning to do something and expect to be SOB, take a puff or two of albuterol before you become uncomfortable. If you're like me with severe emphysema, forget the idea of 3 meals a day. Do a little "grazing" throughout the day making sure you meet your nutritional needs. A full stomach leaves little room for the diaphragm to expand. Bob from Colorado

I don't know if this will help anyone else, but when I walk, I chew gum. I find I do not get as SOB when I do this. I don't know if the chewing of gum helps you get more air or what the significance is. It won't hurt to try it and may help you. Irene Bertels


When you can't get enough air (usually in the middle of the night,) break out your trusty package of balloons and go to work.  Blow one up,
then DON'T tie it off.  Grasp the end with both thumbs and forefingers, and stretch the rubber different ways to play tunes as the balloon
deflates.  Really work at this - I can almost play "On top of Old Smokey" with a 16 incher.  For those with less patience, you can just make noises that would make my grandson gasp with admiration.  Giggling is optional.  Do this a couple of times for best effect.

If you are still SOB or depressed, take out your harmonica and play. Doesn't matter if you know how; after the balloon, it will sound wonderful and slightly sad.  By this time, every living thing in the house should be awake and paying attention, which is just as it should > be.  Play until you feel better.

Say goodnight to everyone and go back to bed.  Remember to stifle your giggles.  You will sleep like a baby.  As for everyone else - that's
their problem.

This is so stupid that it works.  You can't be scared when you really focus on manipulating balloons. Rosemarie L the NJ balloon lady

Better masks have a built in "exhalation" valve that opens when you exhale so that you do not have to use your energy to exhale through
the filter material.  This feature cuts the effort of using the mask in half.   Make sure that the mask, including the nose piece, is molded to make an air tight fit with your face so that all the air you inhale is drawn through the filter material.  Even the slightest gap between your face and the mask will allow all the air to enter that way and none will go through the mask.

A good quality mask with an exhalation valve can be found at yourlocal hardware or home improvement store   This will be a NOISH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approved mask with a rating of  N95.  The "N" indicates it is good for dry airborne
material and the "95" refers to it's filtering efficiency as a percentage.  Some typical 3M masks like this can be seen at: (don't be alarmed by the prices; they are for a box of 10 or 12. You can buy a single mask in a bubble pack at the hardware store.) AO Safety sells similar masks; an example at: You can buy masks rated at 99 and 100 percent efficiency but they are more expensive and because of the thicker filter material,  more difficult to breath through.  Much less expensive masks are also available.   At the extreme, Harbor Freight occasionally offers a box of 50 dust masks, made in China, for a $1.98 (probably better than no mask at all).  You can also find masks made by "Flents" at your pharmacy.  They come in both regular mask shape and ear-loop types (just like the doctors and nurses wear): The box says "surgical grade" but these are not NOISH approved.  These masks aren't designed to protect the wearer but are intended to protect the patient from what the wearer might expel from his mouth or nose.  Doctors and nurses and the folks who work in labs wear at least N95 NOISH rated masks when they need to protect themselves from dangerous infectious disease. Regards, Art

I have an Invacare 501 concentrator. I have 50 feet of 1/4" vinyl hose running from the machine, through our motorhome, and eventually our home, when it gets finished building. Each evening and morning we have to unwind and wind up the hose. We have been winding it around a cardboard box and it still gets twisted and tangled and occasionally gets kinked causing the concentrator to start beeping
at us.

I saw a flat 50  foot garden hose and hose reel for sale in WalMart for Fifteen Bucks. It's called Roll-a-Hose. I unwound the hose and gave it to my husband. He reeled up the 50 feet of 1/4" vinyl tubing on the Roll-a-Hose reel and it winds up and unwinds like it was designed especially for that size tubing. Piece of cake. No kinks, no twists. We just run the hose from the machine to the bed and then connect the coupler to the concentrator and the other coupler to the water trap which is connected to the cannula. Sharon in Washington

I have found that old fashioned pipe cleaners can clean the inside of the [cannula] prongs.  Not the artsy craftsy fat pipe cleaners, the ones that are made for cleaning pipes! Polly

When Jim went on oxygen (night time only) he got a bunch of cup hooks and put them upon at the molding to run his hose on. You can hardly see
it, plus it is up and out of the way. His concentrator is in the dining room and he runs it to the bedroom. Hope this tip might help others. The apria man came back a couple days ago and said he was going to tell some of his customers about it also we gave him some EFFORTS cards to hand out. Luv Peg

At the doctor's office today I also got a hand-out entitled "How to Rinse the Nose with Salt Water." The Nurse Practitioner said "they" even think doing
this may prevent colds. one of the benefits is that salty water pulls fluids out of swollen tissue which decongests the nose and improves airflow. (Do you think this could stop my mouth breathing?) Remember to use canning salt, table salt has additives that might be harmful. She said some people just sniff it from their cupped palms, or use an ear syringe or similar implement. The handout recommends doing it 2-3 times a day and says it can't be overdone. Something helpful for me...if you use a steroid nasal spray, use the saline first, the saline reaches deeper into the nose and sinuses when sprayed into clean, decongested nasal passages. Lorie

I have many nights that I sleep on the couch with the TV on.  My husband doesn't understand why, and enough though I explain many nights I need the tv noise and also I can sleep slighted inclined, as well as a completely  dark room on a night when I'm SOB is almost claustrophobic for me and I wake up in a panic.  I guess eventually he'll get used to it. Nancy

I have had this same confrontation with my hubby also. But had my doctor tell him that I can no longer sleep in the waterbed as I can't get my head up high enough to be able to breathe easier..I moved to the couch a long time ago and after 6 years of sleeping there, finally got my own bed in the living room where I have the TV and the fans. I say fans because I run a ceiling fan and an oscillator at the foot of my bed. I have a Craftmatic that is all electric and it sure helps more than adding a few more pillows. I used to wake up with a sore neck—now the whole upper body is raised no more sore stiff necks. It is great..and it also has a massager so on the nights when I find it impossible to sleep, I turn it on and after 1/2 hour, turn it off. Then, since I have a severe form of exzema in both ears and is rendering me deaf, my son, Jon, added an outside jack to my 27 inch livingroom TV and got me a pillow speaker (Radio Shack) and wired it all up and now I have a talking pillow..What is so nice is that others can hear the TV even though my jacks are being used..Is so great. I love it. He also jacked my TV here in the computer room and I have ear buds so I don't have to have the TV loud anymore. My telephone is a headphone that has dual speakers-one for each ear (Radio Shack) and my boom box has a large very comfortable set of headphones which plug into my organ so I can play it even at midnight..I am a very happy camper here in my nest..Have your doctor talk to you hubby. It migh help. Kit

I have to have a fan on me 24/7. Even when I am in the hospital the nurse has to get me a fan. She says there are other people the same way that comes in the hospital. Jim Watson

A rather different way of dealing with sinus problems, but it really works, as I have recently found out. I also have a prescription for liquidbid, which I can take at any time the mucous is getting too thick. Anyway, in part, the follwoing was my answer to Gary and perhaps it will helps others. We recently found nasal pots at Whole Foods Markes in lower Greenville in Dallas in the herbal/homeopathic medicine section. Some of the other stores might have them too. The idea is to use saline water - 1/2 tsp. uniodized salt dissolved in warm water, and pour through each nostrial. It cleans the mucus and keeps the nasal passages open. I have been reading about them lately in various places—something that has been used in traditional medicines in many other countries. Don asked his doctor about it, and he said yes it really seems to help—he has had patients who have used nasal irrigation for over 50 years...The trick about the nasal irrigation is to tilt your head right so the saline water won't go down your throat. Once you figure it out, it is fine, though, and sure does help. By the way, the tongue cleaners are pretty good for the thrush prevention, too...Sharon L.

From Carolyn in NC foothills: Leaning forward is not a bad habit, it is an adaptation of our illness. In rehav we were told "Don't pay attention o what your mother told you—put your elbows on the table." I can still go grocery shopping if I lean on the cart and don't have a lot to buy. To prevent or relieve sore elbows, use pads made of folded cotton towels or pieces of wool—stay away from synthetic fabrics. They may feel soft, but are harsh on the elbows. Extra mouse pads are good cushions, also--at the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, computer—wherever. An alpha-hydroxy cream is soothing and helps healing also.

I was interested to read your position for resting...elbows on knees......I was talking to my physio at my home and not realizing I had grabbed a pillow and put it on my knees and was leaning on it with my arms crossed.....she looked at me and said you've been reading your relaxing sheet I gave you, I hadn't, but promptly looked and there was exactly what I was doing. It was to relieve stress and to ease breathing. She said it is one of the best ways to relax and ease keep going. It also isn't as obvious to others that you are in a bit of keep doing it. Sally Stone

Well, in the beginning, you need to know that our disease is reactive to stress. This is to say that we are so concerned with our breathing, we measure everything by whether or not we expect to lose our control by becoming SOB. If we become SOB, it takes most of our will power to keep from losing it. Some have a very strong constition that keeps them able to control it by themselves, others use minor stress management through medicines such as xanax and prozac. Since [Diane] you came from the dentist's office, I wouild judge that it was an amount of stress that brought it on and it just peaked when you left the dentist. I am trying to empathize now because I hate going to the dentist. I "drug" up before I go in order to make it. We also react easily to weather changes, so yesterday might have been a little less himid today, or the area of the city may have certain chemicals that helped trigger a little episode. As you learn, you will be able to avoid these situations or at least learn to manage them better.

Whenever I have something to do during the day, I try and plan it after I have taken my albuterol. Usually a half hour after. This is when I am breathing the best. When I feel myself getting real short of breath, I lean over a counter or table on my elbows and do pursed lip breathing. Leaning forward always makes my breathing easier. When I have a stuffy nose I used a Breath Rite strip like the athletes do on TV. It really helps my breathing. I used them every night for awhile but at $10 for 30 that got a little expensive. That's all the cheats I have. Gary in FL

The trick that I have found that has helped me with my lung disease is to keep telling myself that I am not alone in fighting this dreadful disease. I always keep in mind that there are a wonderful group of caring people called, "EFFORTS" that are working on trying to find better effective medicine and perhaps someday a cure for emphysema. I keep telling myself that with emphysema that there is still hope. I don't let emphysema take away my hopes and dreams.

Another thing that I have learned that has helped me with this disease is the purse-lipped breathing. Gary B. has already explaned how to do this very well. Also, another great thing for me was to learn how to control the anxiety that comes with this awful disease. I would like to say something about anxiety. These are only my experiences and my opinion on anxiety. Anxiety (I feel) can affect all things we do. Sometimes one can be a wreck at times with anxiety. One is hard on their self and others around them. It can make one lose control and become short of breath. Depresson often follows with a feeling of hopefulness attacking anxiety. Of course, my anxiety related to what the future held for me as a result of my lung disease. I have struggled with my lung disease for the past 11 years. At first I had so many scary thoughts about my disease. So I would have anxiety and become so short of breath because of them. I had to gain control of my anxiety. I had to keep telling myself that my life was not over just because I had emphysema. You can never say it is too late. I feel there is always hope for us even with this lung disease. It's never too late to take control and start feeling good again. The things that helped me the most controlling my anxiety was the purse-lipped breathing, to talk about it and keep active as much as I was able to, also I feel exercise is a great step to help with anxiety and last but not least, is a wonderful support group like this one. Glenda-KY

I find that if I can time my last neb treatment for the day to take just before I clim in the bed at night, I sleep much better. I also keep a bottle of water, on the nightstand because I am unfortunately a mouthbreather in my sleep. Larry in Amarillo

I learned a long time ago that if I chewed gum when I exercise, my mouth would not dry out and would not get SOB so quickly. Good idea. Irene

Pursed lip breathing has been the most important thing I have learned to do to help me with shortness of breath. At first I had to work at remembering to do it and to do it it is second nature to me. I find myself using diaphramic and pursed lip breathing when I don't even realize I am. I can put on my oximeter and watch my sats rise by using pursed lip I know it really works. When I have a bad spell of SOB I have found that fanning my face with a sheet of paper, a magazine or anything hand (even let a fa blow toward your face if one is available while doing pursed lip breathing seems to bring my breathing around faster. Try it and see if it helps you. ~Carolyn in MI~

Here is my tip, although the idea is not originally mine. I think I saw it on one of Ron Peterson's pages. I keep a balloon in my pocket. Every once in awhile I blow it up. It keeps me focused on long exhales. Once in a while if I am really gasping and starting to panic, I pull out the balloon. Once again, it makes me focus on my long exhale. Karen OH

I haven't heard anybody say anything about their house temperature. I found that if I keep my house cool, I breathe a lot better. Of course, my wife wears a sweater but she shay she doesn't mind as long as it helps. Ed in OK

No ingenious hints from me, other than something our students checked out when working with senior citizens. When calming down is the key to SOB alleviation, exposure to a non-shedding pet often helps. However, many psychologists, and medical people have said there is nothing like the quiet hum of a fish tank, and turning on the light to watch the fish for easing stress and strains. Art

Those members living in farming areas like I do, keep yourself alert to when farmers are applying herbicides and pesticides on their crops. Stay inside and close the windows until you feel that the sprays have settled. It can really do a number on you if exposed to it. Frank (PA)

Thought of another tip—Get yourself a portable hand held fan (available at most drug stores, Brokstone's, and probably K-mart, etc.). When you get into a situation where you feel too warm or want to blow smoke back into their face, just turn it on. I find I have to have air movement. We have ceiling fans and I use a fan when I'm on the treadmill—its one of those little clip-on fans—I think it cost about $10. And, I always have to have air moving in the car. Note: Brookstone's fan may cost a little more but they are guaranteed and they will replace them if they aren't working properly. Your call. I don't have stock in Brookstones! Breathe easy, Caro

I bought a small concentrator weighs 28lb. with a handle like a suitcase to travel with and have used it and I think its great. I had my dealer get it for me. It cost me $1,200 plus tax. In case anyone is interested its called EXCEL made by OXLIFE can be used in the car with a converter, however, the one that would carry this because of the amps it takes you have to have a 95 amp alternator in your car. All of these converters are rated by the amps the unit will need. This unit will put up to 31. If your dealer don't know how to contact this co. the phone no. is: 1-800-780-2616. Your dealer can get it a lot cheaper than they will sell to you. Ed in OK

Remember to breathe when you are concentrating on something. So many times, we hold our breath and then wonder why we are SOB. This is another one of those "need to contrate on" projects. Breathe easy, Caro


use 1 part rubbing alcohol to two parts water.  Mix and put into a zip lock bag, squeeze out the air and seal.  you might want to use two bags.  It makes an inexpensive ice pack and it fits wherever you put it. Much love Ione..WI

I do have 2 things that have helped both me and hubby with the Restless Legs at night.  Tonic Water that has quinine in it.  Drinking 4 ounces is all it takes and wa la the jittery nutso legs quit having their fit. Hugs, Nan

Since someone posted the soap help years ago and I reposted on and off, I have something else to add. Since I tend to nap in the afternoon and I lay on the couch I have a bar of soap under the cushion ,also. I tend to cramp whenever i lay down and that is a huge deterrent. Ruby in Mass.

Does anyone know the cause of jumpy, twitchy legs? When I was on Theodur I was miserable with them. Does anyone know what was in the medication that caused it; or did the medication deplete the body of some vitamin or mineral? Judy Wahlberg

Congratulations Judy, you have what we have recently determined as an actual "twitching leg syndrome" a bonified illness related to sleep disorders! I would trust that Mark or one of our other professionals would help us out here. I know Mick Wagner was checked for it and that it was included in my sleep study by attaching electrodes to my tendons in my upper and lower legs. Gary

Judy, I'll come back with my age-old answer. Has your potassium level been checked lately? My legs do a real number on me for nights on end when my potassium level is low and the potassium pills the drugstores sell aren't enough. I have to get a prescription and tak those horse pills but it makes a big difference. If you're on any kind of blood pressure medicine, I think it depletes your ptassium. I think prednisone will too, but I'll leave that one to the experts. I'm sure there are many other causes, and it does have a name now, RLS, Restless Leg Syndrome. Nancy from MO

I don't know about some meds, but I do know that I am on a high dose of Lasix and have severe muscle cramps. This is my fault because I drink so much water and forget to up my potassium. Two months ago I guess, I almost had a heart attack because my potassium level went down to 1.9. Regular levels are 3.5-55.5. I had to be hospitalized and get IV potassium...that isn't something you want to hurts!!!!! Just a thought! Breathe Gently, Michelle...CO

Diuretics lower potassium. Ethel

Those leg cramps from taking prednisone is almost always from a deficiency of potassium, and can also be from deficiency of calcium magnesium. ~Carolyn in MI~


As you all know, I've been pretty much out of it for 2 months. Felt better Sunday and Monday. I walked very slow to the dining room this AM. Had coffee...made toast, bacon and eggs. John washed pjs. this afternoon. I said I could fold them, just put them on the bed. He did, when out to wash the car. I finished a letter. Folded 3 pair, and fell all over the place. Made me so mad—Ego bruised, carpet burn on thigh, foot bent, bruised shoulder. John came tearing in like a mama lion...As he was trying to get the leg out from under me, he stepped on the unhurt foot. It's sorer than the other one...he asked how and why and I laughed, peed my pants and laughed some more. A [pj] bottom had fallen in the floor and I was picking it up. My knees folded. Don't fuss and scold and all that stuff. I'm fine, just sore. The tip? Don't push your luck. Myrl


To relieve the weight of the cannula on your ears, pin a length of elastic around your heard (like a headband), slip the cannula over it and then into your nose. Much more comfortable. Veronica in Colorado

I know that the Helios has a shoulder strap, and a waist belt. My shoulders can't take it for to long any more. I also have fibromyaliga and seems the strap is always hitting that spot..! The waist belt is ok, just think it shoulder be wider and longer, the Spirit is another trip onto its self..Back packs still have shoulder straps..ouch! Well my hubby went off to Home Depot and brought home a carpenters belt, the kind that is a heavy nylon, has some pockets  with three different pouches that slide off. The are available in many sizes and price ranges. I use the one pouch and saving the others, I now can carry my Helios or Spirit, along with some extras, this way I don't need a purse. I did cut the front out to give air flow. I have to say I have been doing everything with it. When I need to sit...I spin the pouch to the front, in the car..I spin to my right..I normally walk with it on my left side. It has helped my shoulders a great deal. Thought it would bother me this big belt, not so at all.. just thought I would mention it for some  who might need a idea. Below is just an update on things going on here... hugs gj

About three feet down  from the canula, I make a loop in the hose about four or five inches long, and use a twist tie to close the loop. Then I put a medium size binder clip on the hose at the curve of the loop. The opening at the top of the binder clip is large enough that the hose will slip back and forth and not bind it. I then attach the binder clip to the bottom of my shirt at the side. This works best if the hose is running down your back, instead of your front. Now I no longer have a hose trailing between my legs, getting under my feet, or wrapping around my ankle. It still gets caught on things, but it is easier to reach down to my side and pull it than hanging in the front or back. Also, there is the advantage that the weight is on my shirt, not my ears. MUCH more comfortable. And--if it gets caught on something, I usually
feel it pull on my shirt, not my ears. I hope that I explained this well enough. I wish I could show you a picture. Anyway, it works for me!
Mary - California Desert

Tangled Hoses
You apparently do not have a swivel on your hose. As your supplier for one, and you won't believe the difference. In my case, rather than a 50 ft. hose, I have 2 25-foot hoses, and use two swivels. My hose doesn't tangle anymore. Try it - you'll like it. Bob of Ohio

I bought 6 retractable phone cords, cut the little tips off and connected them with super glue then my husband and I threaded the tubing through the retractable cords. Keeps the tube from kinking up. Hope you can understand this. That's 6 50-foot cords. Elaine FL

Have a question tonight that I haven't been able to get answered yet by anyone else. Since we are heading into storm season, I need to know how many hours O2 tanks will last. Ed is at 5 liters. We have E tanks and a big M tank. Can anyonw tell me how long these last?? Thanks, Lyn

Don't know about "M" tanks but "E" tanks will last about 2.3 hours continuous at 5 lpm and 6.9 hours with a conserving device. Tom Whitman

I've been told that an E cylinder holds 672 liters of O2 at 70 degrees and 2000 lbs. of pressure. You can figure how long one will last by dividing your flow rate. Bob from Colorado

Lyn, the tanks that I have last appox 5 hours each (they are called "E" cylinders 22CU). I have 3.

When I first went O2....I sent a letter to our power company and told them about being on it. Our power company worked with me and I am on their list as one of the first to have power reconnected in case of storms....just a hint for others who may not have let their Electric Co. know they are on oxygen. Love to all Kathy/VA

There is a formula to calculate how long you have on a tank. A full E tank (2,200PSI) running at 5 l/m will last 123 min. (about 2 hours). If you have a very large tank it is called an H tank. These are about 4 feet tall. A full H tank at 5 l/m will last 23 hours (1381 min). An M tank (also called M-6) is a very small tank and is typically used with a conserving device. Conserving devices completely change the picture. Depending on what company the conserver is made by the time will vary. I hope that this helps. Please let me know if you need any additional information on such equipment. Ronda Bradley BA, RRT

Thanks everyone for the information on the E tanks. The oxygen company called back today and said that the M tanks at 5 lpm will last 11-12 hours. Lyn


My new bath buddy, Soapy Toes, is GREAT!  I use a long handle bath brush for the top of my feet; however, it's a real challenge to scrub the bottoms, especially if like me, you are carrying around some extra pounds.  Soapy Toes is bright green soft plastic with suction cups on the bottom that grip the tub/shower floor.  You pour liquid soap (or shampoo) on top and just wiggle your feet.  It is just like a foot massage.  It cost $11.99 from the Miles Kimball Catalog or check their website ( Ann in Tidewater, VA

I just wanted to give you all a great recipe for homemade baby wipes. It only costs pennies and works very well for a quick refresher. Here it is... 2 tablespoons baby wash; 1 tablespoon baby oil; 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol; 2 cups warm water; 1 roll good paper towels; 1 round sealed container.   Cut your roll of paper towels in half. Mix your baby wash, baby oil, alcohol and water in round container. Then put your half roll of paper towels inside the container and seal with lid. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes and then turn over so that the rest of the liquid can be absorbed. Leave that way about 30 minutes and your homemade baby wipes are ready to go. Pat/MO

My doctor would not prescribe Lamisil because of the possible liver problems while taking it. I put a gob of Vicks on my toe and work a bit under the nail. Then I put a piece of gauze on top and wrap it with a couple of bandaids. I change it every day. I keep the toenail clipped and notice the fungus free nail growing out from the quick. If you have problems reaching your toe with your hand, just dunk your toe in the jar. Pat

 I have dry thin skin like a snake almost because of taking prednisone some have told me. I have been on some high doses over the past few years.  Usually use Lubriderm Lotion, but a friend brought me an empty pill bottle full of a liquid which she told me to use and see if it
helped and then she would tell me what it was.  It works great.  It is Virgin Olive Oil (just a small amount). Ruth in S. Texas

Sometimes the skin on my arms looks like alligator skin!  LOL!  If you use a shower gel, try this as a scrub before adding bath oil to your water.  Add 8 ounces of shower gel to a container of Epson salts.  Mix well, and put in a plastic container to keep on the side of your tub.  It is an excellent exfolliant and inexpensive to make. Gets rid of dry skin and makes your skin soft. When you finish scrubbing then add the bath oil and you will see a big difference.  This is good for men and women.  Men just use a masculine scented bath gel or soap. Hugs,
Libby in GA

I bought some nail polish remover called "ONCE REMOVED" made by SMS Labs Brooklyn Ny. It is a brush on remover and nail treatment system but the best part is it has virually no odor. Smells like baby oil. But is does remove polish nicely. Hint- do not use your keyboard while doing your eats plastic too.<G> JoanT-IN

It finally found my bottle of no rinse bath condition. It is called SEPTI-SOFT. It is put out by Concatec which is a division of E.R. Squibb Company. Can be used as a shampoo on a wet wash cloth. Got mine while pulling my first stay in the hospital. You just pour a bit in your bath water. Hope this helps anyone who needs it. Before I forget, here is Convatec's address and a toll free no. Princeton, New Jersey, 08543, 1-800-422-8811. N.C. Elaine

I try using the baby wipes, the unscented ones. Pampers has some...a lot of firms put them out. They are gentle for the skin but also cleanse and can moisturize. I keep them handy in all the bathrooms and in the bedroom. I think some might think that is getting too close to second childhood...but they sure work well and often can use for cleansing between showers. Giles in Vancouver

IN/R Laboratories has no rinse body bath, no rinse shampoo body bath $6.84, shampoo $4.99 at standard drug store in MO, 16 fl. oz., Ron S MO

Hair Loss
Ethel, when my hair began fall out (after I had been very sick) the Dr. told me to take Biotin. It really helped me a lot. Glynna in OK

Some time ago, someone asked about a product for cleansing for those who can't take showers or baths. I saw this advertised in a magazine. It says it is a new rinse-free, full-body cleaner and moisturizer that was developed for hospitals...and is now available for home use. It can be microwaved and contains vitamin E and aloe. I have included their web site http: // if anyone is interested. Better (AR)

I agree folks, showers are really hard on those of us with E or COPD, I run the water much cooler now, keep water turned down lower and keep a shower door partly open. Washing my hair was the hardest thing to do. I sit on a little bench to wash my hair and sit under the shower. It makes it a lot easier. I wear my cannula in the shower, sometimes put it in my mouth. Guess that's about all for now. Everyone have a good air day. Lots of Love to all, Doug Clark

I do not pretend to have any statistics on bath/shower and SOB. I just finished a pulmonary rehab program and in it, one of the areas they covered was the shower/bath. They indicated that most of us really enjoy a hot shower, but that it creates real problems fo rus in congestion and breathing. It creates a highere humidity, which we all know but, of which we never think. I have been taking much cooler showers, and my breathing and nasal running has disappeared while showering. You might try it. By the way, the humidity in Denton, Texas has been vey high the past four days, and I have had to reduce my walking and other exercises by at least one-fourth. Good Luck. Gary in Texas

Regarding your question concerning how to get in and out of bathtubs with using an expensive hydraulic device: I talked with one therapist today and he recommended a "Tub-Transfer Bench." Now the problem is, can I still use my communication skills to describe this animal? The "Tub-Transfer Bench" is backed, hard-rubber or heavy-duty plastic bench of approximately 4' to 4 1/2' in length. It has four steel legs with rubber-tipped safety caps. It is designed to have one slide from outside a bathtub, to over (inside) the bathtub with safety. The bench is designed to have two of the legs outside of the tub, and then slide/swing over to the larger portion in the tub. You are then seated on a bench, with a comfortable back, at approximate tub height. I visited a medical clinic to see one of these tubs. It would allow one to wash if the water was high in the bathtub. A better solution is to use flexible, metal shower spray. This may be placed in lieu of your shower head, or in place of the faucet if necessary. (The shower would work much better. There is a slip in the bench where one may place the shower curtain so that water doesn't escape all over your bathroom. When finished, you would simply reverse the procedure, and slide out using the bench, until your feel are over the bathroom floor. In looking at these, I read the price. The bench that I was was $91.00. The shower attachment was $24.00, I believe. Gary A in Texas

This sounds like something we need to add to our website [devices to aid in bathing or showering]. Gary

Hi Vicki, a lot of the people do [get very SOB when taking a shower]. I have a minor problem but if I keep the water temperature down, it is helpful. Also try running a fan on her [her mother] while she is in the shower. I have heard others say that a hand held shower was better. John S

I too, have difficulty showering. I do not require a seat, as yet. In my case, I believe the SOB is caused by the anxiety of being in confined quarters with a constat flow of water. I have never learned to swim properly and have always had a fear of water. Since developing SOB my fear has become greater. John Deed, CA

This is a big problem for may of us. I learned several tricks. My #1 help is to bring my oxygen into the shower with me. I don't know if your mom is on O2. Anything that requires upper body motion; i.e., dressing, hair shampooing, hair brushing, washing, tooth cleaning, no matter how insignificant it seems, can be devastatingly tiring for someone with COPD. That is why they emphasize upper body exercises in rehab classes. I do keep the water from getting hot enough to make steam. Steam bothers me, and the water temperature is soothing if it is not too hot. I also keep the bathroom door open and a window open whenever possible. After showering, instead of toweling dry, I just sit wrapped in towels and let them absorb the moisture. I am looking for a terrycloth robe at present. A friend told me about using a hair dryer to dry off his lower body instead of using a hairdryer to dry off his lower body instead of using a towel. I prefer to just sit and rest. All these things I learned from EFFORTS. I hope this helps. Hugs, Joan in NJ

From Carolyn in NC foothills: Keep clean between baths/showers. You can effectively "spot clean" by using rubbing alcohol on a cotton square or corner of a wash cloth to clean neck, armpits, under breasts, ears, and feet. Just wipe. If you have dry, thin or delicate skin, use a plain lotion and wipe off with a damp wash cloth. Use a baby wipe for groin, genitals and rear end. Baby wipes are also good for feet. If you are very grubby or sweat alot, this is not enough. If you like scented products, most cosmetic refresher liquids or body sprays ar e90% alcohol. Or pour some lemon oil or peppermint extract in a bottle of rubbing alcohol - much cheaper.

I also had the problem of being terribly sob when taking a shower until I had a high capacity exhaust fan installed in the bathroom. Now I can shower in "peace". :-) Yves Dussault

Yes Vicki I do [have problems with SOB in the shower] and it is the humidity that does it to me.  Doesn't  matter even if a window is open cannot breath when taking a shower  or bath.  Anne in Vermont

Hi Frances....We should put that on our tips page.  I don't do perms but I do color my hair. (sorry if this bores you guys!) I have found that Clairol Natural Instincts is great.  No ammonia. Susan in NM with med. brown hair

I called the Beauty Academy, and the owner told me that it was a "ISOL"   that the girl gave me this morning.  He said to check with a beauty supply in your area, that there are several on the market now that are  fume free.  It is also a conditioned perm, and leaves your hair nice and  soft.     Hugs, Frances AR

[Smelly perms] The perm is called ISO and they come in 1, 2, or 3 depending on the condition of your hair. I have never had a perm in my life that didn't have that horrible odor, but this one does not have is wonderful. Big Hugs, Me

I am so glad you two brought up hair. I ahve wnated to ask anyone if one of the medications makes your hair darken? I used to have strawberry blonde hair and now it is such a dark brown it is almost black. My coloring does not match the hair color, so I was glad for Susan's post. And then Frances posted about the no fume permanent, doesn't take much to keep an old woman happy...Hugs, Evelyn in KS

My favorite, that I have learned from someone else, is to buy a large terry bathrobe just to use afte your shower. Put it on and it wil dry you - no struggling trying to dry with towels. This is great when you are having an especially bad time with SOB. ~Carolyn in MI~

Go to a big and tall shop—you can find cloth wraparounds (I mean dressing gowns or bathrobes) that will fill the all sizes 1x to 6xlt. I two of them—one to dry with, the other to slip into after a shower. Also, find using a shower bench or seat is fantastic for those times when I must sit. I installed a "telephone" type shower (a la water pic) and can place it on extra hook holders I put at various levels down the wall of the shower. Works like a hot dam (no pun intended). Giles

Wear bath gloves to soap up and remove dead skin. Take them off, rinse, then 100% cotton robe. Squeaky clean and some air left. I use Neet or Nair—(purple if not). When I can lay down to sleep I put a pillow long way very close, rest against it with my arm on it. Seems easier to breathe. Myrl

I couldn't shower without the stool. I shave my legs sitting on a stool. Just prop one at a time on the side of the tub or the faucet. Then have my husband take my glasses. Have forgotten and left them on. Duh, kind of hard to see like that. Love, Jan KY. Never say never!

Also for those of you who love to wear perfume and have problems with the heavy odor, spray a bit on a cotton ball (hold the cotton ball right on the hole the perfume comes out of) and then dab behind the knees or other places. Apply hair spray outside and the fumes won't be so bad. Kit

Be sure all your rugs [in the] bathroom are rubber-backed. Since I slipped and fell in the bathroom a few months ago and hit my knee, it has never been the same. In fact, this morning it feels like I have been run over by a truck. Have a good breathing day. Helen in the valley of the relentless sun

I put my oxygen cannula in my mouth while showering, doing that both keeps water out of the cannula and give me a bit more oxygen. I also turn up my O2 a bit while in the shower. This helps me with the extreme SOB and exaustion I experience in the shower. Sharon

I wonder if all you folks out there also realize that you can and should wear your oxygen in the shower and/or tub and if you turn it up when you exercise then turn it up when you bathe. That is a pretty good form of aerobic exercise—for me anyway. That has helped me a lot. Go with God, Pat from WA

You're right, Pat. I use 2L at rest and 3L when exercising. Also do as you say and use 3L when in the shower. Gary in FL

I use liquid soap in a pump bottle in the shower, it requires less energy to lather up. Frank PA


I just learned a trick for bugs - mosquito/green heads and black flies.  Take a Bounce fabric softener sheet and rub your arms with it and then loop it around your belt or something near your body.  No other fabric softener sheet will work.  My husband, who loves to work in the garden, has been eaten alive with mosquitoes and I told him about this.  He bought some, rather reluctantly, and tried them.  He went to pick raspberries and didn't come back - so I looked out the window and he was weeding the garden.  Something he has not been able to do because of the bugs.  IT REALLY DOES WORK.  The only thing might bother you would be the odor if you are susceptible to odors.

Fleas:  I no longer have a dog but when I did the fleas became a big problem since they not only drove the dog nuts but bit my legs and sure does itch.  Anyway regular table salt sprinkled on your carpets and the corners of bare floors not only kills the fleas but also thier eggs.  I bought a 5 lb. bag of table salt and this did the job. I think I vacuumed a couple days later and maybe did another dose after that.  Too far back to remember. Hugs, Nan

Pesticid for fleas—If you have bugs and pesticides make you SOB, try 20 Mule Team Borax instead. I live in fleas idea of paradise, on the far north coast of California a few blocks for the oceanfront. I have two cocker spaniels which play in our fenced yard in front of the house and they are also housedogs. We had a huge flea problem for several years, nothing we, the vet, groomer, even exterminators did worked except make us and the dogs sick. I read about people using Borax on a veterinary medicine mailing list. Now I use 20 Mule Team Borax and we haven't had fleas in years, not even when the neighbors do. I sprinkle the Borax onto the carpeting with a flour shaker, coating it with a light film, then my husband grinds it in good with his shoes so it gets down deep into the carpet and under the carpet. We also sprinkle the Borax all over our yard, both gras and sidewalk, make sure to do the last on a dry and windless day. No more fleas. Most other bugs have gone alway also. It's necessary to do this only once in a great while, the Borax lasts a long time. For us, Boraxing the place once a year works. It disrupts the flea growth cycle. I find it a safe and non-toxic alternative to pesticides. Sharon

A few additional thoughts on the Borax method of getting rid of fleas without using pestcides that can harm your lungs...The fleas won't immediately disappear, but be patient, the flea growth cycles will be disrupted and their eggs won't be able to mature into adult fleas. When starting to try to get rid of an infestation, vacuum up the Borax in about 4 days, no sooner, then sprinkle another application of the Borax. I used a medium to heavy coating should be enough if you apply it at the start of each flea season. Be sur eto sprinkle the Borax on baseboards also. We took bedding off our beds and sprinkled the Borax on the bare mattress also, on nd under upholstered furniture, everywhere that fleas hide. Cover chairs with a sheet after sprinkling them with Borax while it works. I also would suggest using the 20 Mule Team Borax brand since the generic type may not be as pure and effective. Keep at it with the Borax, it will work. Boric acid also works well and perhaps a bit faster than plain Borax, but the acid is more toxic than Borax.vDon't let pets come into contact with boric acid. Borax itself is safe around pets except for birds and fish. Of course, don't inhale the Borax powder, just as you shouldn't inhale any dusts, and don't apply it directly to pets or get in their food or water. But otherwise, Borax is safe. It sure beats toxic chemicals and pesticides that can harm our lungs! Sharon

Weed Killer—Another tip about 20 Mule Team Borax. It makes a dandy weed killer. Sprinkle it on weeds in your driveway or sidewalk and then then wet gently with a hose. The weeds will gradually die. I used to use it just before a rain shower. It works and is non-toxic to the environment. JJ

Growth Aid—You'll also find that your fruit bearing plants will love you for it, we always had to add boron to the soil to get apples when I lived in IL. Dan in Omaha


Here is a "trick" some might want to try if you have room... Along the side of your steps build a "sliding board" out of plywood about 8-10 ins. wide. Build a tray with guides on the bottom to hold it on the slide. Tie a rope that is strong enough and long enough to the tray and run it to the top of the slide through a small pulley. Let the loose end of the rope go back down to the bottom. This device can be used to pull a load up the steps or let a load down. The bottom of the tray can be waxed to make it slide easier. And it won't cost much..Rusty

Bending over- my sister has had a very bad back for several years and cannot bend over, she uses her toes to pick up a lot of things, she wears those shoes that you just slip on with no back and never wears socks unless it's really cold. She also uses kitchen tongs to get things out of the dryer, keeps several handy around the house. Never puts anything any lower than she can stoop to reach. When she gets groc, it takes several trips to get things inside, and she has to be very careful what she puts in the cart, she cannot buy a 12 pack of soft drinks, to heavy to left and carry. Uses an old curtain rod to snag the car door so she doesn't have to reach out to close it. Sleeps with the phone
and flash light next to her on the bed. She lives alone. Just thought some of these might be handy. Ruby-Charlestown, In

I just returned from Lowe's where I bought the "garden buddy" someone on the list suggested when I said I wanted something to haul groceries and such from the garage to the house and for other things.  It's nearly perfect for everything I wanted.  It was $29.94 plus tax; weeks ago I had almost bought a radio-flyer, which was $89.  I like that it's vinyl, except for the axles, so it can sit outside and, if it gets dirty, be hosed off.  I also like that it can be used as a seat when the lid is closed, so if you get SOB, you have a nice place to recover.  I forget who suggested it, but thanks.  I love these energy conservation tips that enable us to live easier.  Really, it's more than that, because in some instances, we would not be able to do the job otherwise. Kathy

One of the things I found handiest was the reacher that allows you to pickup things around you without using up all your air bending, etc.. Gary


I have some push lights in my home in case the lights go out and one of them is over my bed, it is great just push it and u have light. Dorothy - AZ


My doctor had given me a sample of a Flonase nasal spray to try, and using that once a day, coupled with guiafenisan tablets twice a day. Seems to have done the trick. I don't know if one or the other works, or if it has to be both together, but I'm not going to fool with the combo! My next call will be to the doctor to ask for a prescription for the Flonase. I no longer have the stuffy nose; rather, my nose runs if anything, but I'd much rather use tissues as a blotter periodically. Jersey Joan

...good for many people anywhere but especially for us—drink lots of water, I think it was recommended that we drink at least 7-10 8-oz. glasses per day. (Just don't try to drink them all in the last 4 hours before going to sleep at night—unless you like trotting to the bathroom all night long!!


To compute the cost, do the following:
1. Look at the label on your concentrator. It states the number of volts and amps the concentrator uses. If not found on the concentrator, look for it in
the manual. As an example, we will use 115 volts at 4 amps. To convert to watts, multiply volts and amps as in 115 volts x 4 amps = 460 watts or W.

2. Next, calculate the number of kilowatt – KW – hours per year. Multiply the watts your concentrator uses by .001KW/W to convert watts to kilowatts as 460W x .001 KW/W = .46KW

3. Multiply this answer by 24hour/day x 365 days/year if you are a continuous user. If you do not run your oxygen continuously, multiply by the average number of hours per day and then by 365. In our example, .46KW x 24hours/day x 365 days/year = 4,029.6 KWH/Y - This is the kilowatt hours you have used in the past year.

4. You now multiply the above result by the cost per kilowatt hour your electric company charges you. (It may be listed on your bill or you could
call the local office.) Let’s say they charge you 8 cents per kilowatt hour, but remember they vary widely depending on where you live. In our example, 4,029.6KWH/Y x $0.08 = $322.37. This is the amount it cost you to power your concentrator in the past year.
Frank NV


As a smoker, I think it would be helpful to read about other's success. Tonight as I was reading of anniversaries, I was glad to be reminded that other heavy smokers like myself have been able to do this. As silly as this may sound, having that reminder that it can be done, seeing these reminders frequently helps me once more refocus on this need. Judy W

It is very thoughtful of you to consider whether or not stores of successful quitters are helpful or irritating. I don't remember this subject coming up in the past, so I would assume that we have some pretty tough birds here. It may be easier for me to say that it doesn't matter because I quit years ago. However, I think everyone knows what has to be done and the suggestions may very well help. John S.

Hi Polly, it is very thoughtful of you to consider whether or not stores of successful quitters are helpful or irritating. I don't remember this subject coming up in the past, so I would assume that we have some pretty tough birds here. It may be easier for me to say it doesn't matter because I quit years ago. However, I think everyone knows what has to be done and the suggestions may very well. John S.

A question for those still struggling with smoking: would stories of successful quitters be helpful or irritating? If answers are mixed, the stories could have a uniform subject line so you could delete them unread. Or maybe someone would be willing/able to make a page of them for the website. Polly - San Francisco

I think this would apply to us ladies more so than men. If you are used to carrying your cigs in a case, still carry the case when you stop smoking instead of cigs inside it put a note congratulating yourself for not smoking and when you get the urge open it up not only the note will help but smell will make you glad you stopped it won't take long before you'll forget to pick up the case. GOOD LUCK

For those of you that are sturggling to stop. As soon as you finish your meal, get up and move from the spot where you ate. That was one of the most favorite times to smoke and even now after 12 years still get a tiny craving if I sit still too long after I eat. If I get up and move right away it never enters my mind. I will tell you that if I had not stopped I would be dead. I'm 54, healthy other than lungs but that is how badly they damaged my lungs. What a shame to love something so much that can KILL you! Jan - KY


Here is a good site to help start getting organized. Travel With Health Problems:

Disability Travel Resources

ADA Vacations Plus

Better Breathers Cruise

Cruises for those with COPD are held each spring: St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Tampa and Ft. Myers. All trips include transportation and meals. Medical volunteers attend the trips to assist with needs such as oxygen and medications. Arrangements for supplemental oxygen provided. Call 1-800-771-5863 or more information. Be sure to read some of the reports from various locations. Good luck and happy trails to you........John Kerry Powers, Tx

For anyone on oxygen, the physically challenged, those in a cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation or many other conditions the ability to travel is lost. The need for medical equipment and qualified medical care make travel impossible, until now!

With Carefree Medical Travel you can go to such exotic places as Mexico, Alaska and the Caribbean. Our registered nurses and therapists go on our escorted cruises and perform any medical treatments you need. John Kerry Powers, TX

The latest edition of The Pulmonary Paper has a front page article about a just completed oxygen cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. It's called a "Sea Puffer" cruise, and there are upcoming cruises to Hawaii and Alaska. Contacts given are Pam at 1-800-673-5856 or, Frank NV

It's also a good idea to get a converter for your car so you can plug your nebulizer into the lighter. I know this doesn't help much for your O2 but it does work for the neb. Sharon A

About the converters for the nebulizers in the car. We had a really bad experience with converters coming home from Florida. We ended up buying 3 and returning 3. The 3rd one cost $139.00 from radio shack. None of them worked although the last one worked once and quit. They told us it had something to do with the wattage of the nebulizer. So, if you get a converter.....try it more than once and don't wait until you really need it. I am getting a battery operated nebulizer so I never have to go through that again. Keep Smilin, Karen

USING MDIs and Other Meds

I use the little canisters from rolls of 35 mm film [for storing pills] because they seal nicely.  I used to use a cup, but one of my pills sucked up water from the air and was a little pile of damp stuff by evening, so I seal them.  Apparently a lot of pills will do this; that must be why they put those little packets of drying material in the bottles. Polly

I make the number of each day on the Spiriva packet with a fine tip marker---this acts as a 'place keeper' to tell if I have taken it on that particular day. Edna-CO

The instructions on the Aerochamber do not say to blow into it first. I was told to 1) exhale slowly (to get CO2 out); 2) put lips to chamber; 3) release medication and inhale slowly; 4) if you hear a whistle, you are inhaling too quickly. Hope this helps. As for the rinsing, you can take a tiny Tupperware with a small amount of water in it. Rinse and spit into the container. Seal it, put it in your purse or bag and worry about it later. You can most likely find a place to do this where you won't be seen. love ya, Sharon A

If you use one of the Monaghan Aerochambers, they are the blue ones, or the purple one that looks just like it, there is not need to buy a new one when the rubber ending cracks or breaks, this is the end the inhaler goes into. They can be purchased alone for $3.10 each which is much better than buying a whole new one for $30 or some dollars. The address is: Monaghan Medical Corp., 5 Latour Ave., Suite 1600, Box 2805, Plattsburgh, NY 12901-0299. Found this out yesterday while attending an ALA meeting, lady there had called and they had given her this info and she ordered 2 and they sent 3, one was complimentary. Hope this saves money for some of you. I am sending for mine today. Lois Dickson, RRT, CPFT, (ret)

About rinsing one's mouth after using—carry a tiny bottle of mouthwash or a toothbrush—you can brush your teeth with plain water, then use a little cup to rinse 'n' spit. This will make all the watchers feel guilty that they aren't practicing good oral hygiene. It's okay to rinse and spit in a public long as you don't spit on the floor. I'm pretty old and I remember signs on street cars saying NO SPITTING. Carolyn

One thing an RRT taught me was to put the hose in the microwave for about 5 seconds before I open the package and then stretch it as far as you can. My wife gets on one side of the room and me on the other and pull real hard. It has stopped the curling and kinking. I also use the slide connectors between the two hoses and also the cannula. I meant to say swivel connectors. Larry

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