All posts by admin
 

Insomnia Tips When Living with Severe Eczema

Sleep is essential for everyone’s health, but when you have severe eczema, going to bed can be extra stressful. The ironic thing is that without enough sleep, your eczema can get worse.

Remember that you should be getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night. But, sometimes eczema can get in the way of us getting the recommended hours of sleep.

People that have eczema have a higher chance of experiencing fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and insomnia.

So, what can you do to improve sleep when living with severe eczema?

Room Temperature

For starters, you should be aware of the close relationship between your body temperature and eczema. The hotter you are, the worse your eczema will get.

A lot of people wake up during the night because they become overheated and the itching gets worse.

There is no universal temperature that works for everyone, so you need to find your ideal sleeping temperature and stick to it.

However, a temperature between 3 and 5 degrees seems to be comfortable and cool enough.

Linens

The material of the linens you sleep on is also very important when it comes to your body temperature when you sleep.

Protective dust mite covers for your pillow and mattresses could help you a great deal.

It’s best to sleep on 100% natural fabrics, like cotton and bamboo.

Change your bed linens frequently and keep them as clean as possible, so dust mites and skin debris won’t affect your sleep.

Nighttime Scratching

Throughout the day, you may be good at controlling yourself when it comes to scratching eczema patches. But, at night you might find yourself scratching them unconsciously.

Keep your nails trimmed and neat at all times to avoid making your eczema patches worse.

Also, you can try wearing soft cotton gloves at night to train yourself to stop itching.

Moisturize Your Skin Before Bed

Dry skin can wake you up during the night several times. You can prevent this by applying a moisturizer half an hour before going to bed. This way, the ointments have time to better sink into your skin.

You can also benefit from applying moisturizer right after you get out of a bath or a shower.

Sleep Hygiene

If you want to improve your sleep, it’s quite beneficial to practice good sleep hygiene.

That means to stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time every single day.

It trains your body to go to sleep and also stay asleep.

In the evening hours, it’s useful to avoid eating heavy meals, drinking caffeine or alcohol, or smoking. These habits might disrupt your sleep.

Turn off all electronic devices that emit blue light an hour before going to bed. They can trick your brain that it’s still daytime and affect your sleep negatively.

A dark room will provide you a better night’s sleep.

By incorporating all these steps you can lower the feelings of stress and anxiety. And this can contribute to improving your eczema and reducing your flare-ups.

Sleepwear

Just like the fabrics on your bed, sleepwear can affect the quality of your night’s rest.

The more comfortable the sleepwear is, the better your sleep is.

The first thing you would like to avoid is sweating. So, pick something light to wear when it’s hot. Avoid anything that is rough, scratchy, or tight.

Your pajamas should be airy, loose, and made from breathable fabrics. If you can wear pajamas that are made of 100% cotton, that would be ideal.

By following our tips, you should be sleeping around seven to eight hours per night. 

How to Clean Your House When You Have COPD

When you have COPD, some simple activities like cleaning your home can become pretty challenging.

Yes, you should definitely keep a clean home if you have COPD because cleanliness impacts your health agreat deal.

The problem is that many cleaning products often contain scents and give off toxic vapors which can exacerbate your condition.

Stick with the Basics

The most traditional cleaning products are the safest for people with COPD, so play it safe.

White vinegar, methylated spirits or denatured alcohol, lemon juice, and baking soda are products that your grandparents have probably used, and you should too. They are recommended for people with COPD because they normally don’t cause reactions in respiratory patients.

Combining boiling water and either white vinegar, methylated spirits, or lemon juice would make a great floor cleaner and degreaser, and they can also clean the bathroom and the kitchen.

You can use soda water as a stain remover for carpets and household fabrics.

A mixture of vinegar and water is best for cleaning mirrors and windows.

And for cleaning other household surfaces,a bar of plain dishwashing soap and water would do.

Store-Bought Cleaning Products

Many COPD experts advise against store-bought cleaning products. However, if you still decide to buy ready-made cleaning products from a store, go for unscented products whenever possible.

Don’t go for “natural” cleaning products because they are not safe for everyone with COPD. There can be someone who has a sensitivity to even a natural substance.

Another thing to pay attention to are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They often end in -end and have chemicals in them that give off gases when you use them at home.These gases may irritate the lungs and cause difficulty breathing.

Avoid the cleaning ingredients ammonia and bleach because they have a very strong odor and can cause shortness of breath.

 

Get Help

Some patients with COPD can’t tolerate the scent or fragrance from any type of cleaning product or even laundry supplies. If you are among these patients, the best thing you can do is get someone to help you with cleaning your home.

You should get out of your home while someone cleans it.

Vacuuming can be one of the most dangerous tasks since the dust collected in the vacuum cleaner doesn’t always stay there, and may cause irritation.

So, get someone to clean your house instead of you. It’s especially important for you to avoid things like vacuuming.

Use a Face Mask

In case there is no other way but you have to clean yourself, try using a mask. An N95 mask blocks 95 percent of very small particles, so it’s a good choice.

However, have in mind that the N95 mask increases the work of breathing, so it may not work for all people with COPD.

Use a Particle Filter

If you live in an area with high air pollution, consider getting a particle filter. It really improves the air quality in your home. Air purifiers that use high-efficiency particle [HEPA] filters are excellent at filtering our dust, tobacco smoke, pollen, fungal spores, etc.

However, we must point out that air purifiers that generate ozone to clean the air are not a good idea.

Ozone is an unstable gas that is also a component of smog, so it is not a smart thing to generate ozone in your home. Ozone can aggravate COPD symptoms.

Other things you can do to keep common indoor air pollutants at bay are banning smoking indoors, removing carpets from home, and washing sheets in hot water and replacing pillows more frequently.

Facts and Statistics about COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a type of obstructive lung disease that causes poor airflow.

It is a leading cause of death in the US with 16 million people affected by it, and also millions more who don’t know they have it.

It is characterized by increasing shortness of breath with slowly developing symptoms.

The most common cause of developing COPD is smoking.

At the moment, there is no cure for COPD, but most of the time it’s treatable.

The term COPD is generally used for a mix of the conditions of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Emphysema is a chronic lung disease that manifests damage to the alveoli, which then provokes a loss of their elasticity. This leads to air becoming trapped in the alveoli and they expand and rupture, causing more damage.

Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation that causes mucus accumulation in the airways and leads to blockage of the airways. It regularly causes recurrent infections.

Bronchiectasis means having widening and scarring of the airways. These caused by repeated lung infections in childhood.

Causes

Smoking is the leading cause for developing COPD, one out of five smokers will develop significant COPD. Also, long-term second-hand smoking can cause COPD.

Long-term exposure to harmful pollutants like certain chemicals, dust, or fumes can cause COPD.

And the cause of about 1 percent of COPD cases is alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency.

Symptoms

Early symptoms of COPD are commonly ignored as they include shortness of breath or getting tired easily.

These symptoms might be later followed by a cough. And then the cough could be accompanied by the production of mucus, phlegm, or spots of blood. The easy everyday activities may leave you wheezing or gasping for air.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • constant coughing, sometimes known as a “smoker’s cough”
  • shortness of breath while doing everyday activities
  • an in ability to breath easily or just take a deep breath
  • excess mucus production coughed up as sputum
  • wheezing
  • blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
  • common respiratory infections
  • lack of energy

In case you currently are a smoker or have been one, or you have been exposed to harmful lung irritants for a long period of time, or your family has a history of COPD, you should be careful.

We recommend you to ask your doctor about taking a noninvasive spirometry test, which measures how well your lungs are working, even though you might not feel severe symptoms because often times the symptoms aren’t there, but a moderate stage of COPD is.

Treatments

Current treatments for COPD cannot fix the damage to your lungs. However, some treatments may lower the risk of flare-ups. The treatment definitely makes it easier for you to breathe and feel better.

Treatment will probably relieve your symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve your physical condition, prevent complications, and improve your overall health.

The most important thing when you face COPD is to quit smoking immediately.

Also, have in mind that if you have COPD, you are more vulnerable to the common cold, influenza, and pneumonia. Plus, you have an increased risk of pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the arteries that serve the lungs.

Other complications of COPD could be respiratory infections, heart problems, lung cancer, and depression.

Survival Rates

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that more than 3 million people died as a result of COPD in 2015. That makes 5 percent of all deaths globally.

90 percent of all COPD deaths in the United States are related to smoking. Some evidence suggests that women could be biologically more susceptible to the lung damage caused by tobacco smoke and environmental pollutants.

For women, smokers are 22 times more probable to die from COPD than nonsmoking women. For men, smokers are 26 times more probable to die from COPD than their nonsmoking counterparts.

How to Manage a COPD Flare-Up

If you have been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for a while now, you may have undergone exacerbations or sudden flare-ups of respiratory symptoms.

Symptoms of breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing are manifestations of COPD exacerbations. Unless you have access to quick and careful treatment, these symptoms could make it necessary to seek emergency treatment.

Although COPD flares can be startling and uncomfortable, the scariest thing might be that their effects go beyond the attack itself. The worst part is that the more exacerbations you experience, the more hospitalizations you’ll need.

Which is why it’s crucial to learn to prevent and manage exacerbations. It can help you stay on top of the initial signs of an attack. It can help you to be healthier in general and avoid urgent trips to the doctor.

Signs of a COPD Flare

When you have a COPD exacerbation, your airway and lung functions change fast and they change dramatically. You can suddenly experience more mucus clogging your bronchial tubes. Also, the muscles around your airways may constrict significantly and cut off your air supply.

Symptoms of a COPD flare

Breathlessness or shortness of breath. You either feel like you can’t breathe deeply or you gasp for air.

Increase in coughing attacks. Coughing helps your lungs and airways to remove blockages and irritants.

Wheezing. If you hear a wheeze or whistling noise when you breathe, this means that air is being forced through a narrower passageway.

Increase of mucus. You might notice that you have started to cough up more mucus, and it can be a different color than it was before.

Fatigue or sleep problems. Sleep disturbances or feelings of exhaustion can suggest that less oxygen is getting to your lungs and through your body.

Cognitive impairment. If the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, this can be demonstrated by confusion, slowed down thought processing, depression, or memory lapses.

The important thing is that you should not wait to see if your COPD symptoms improve.

 If you’re struggling to breathe and your symptoms start getting worse, you need to medicate appropriately and as fast as possible.

4 steps to manage your COPD flare

When you experience a COPD flare, first you need to review the COPD action plan that you made with your doctor. This plan probably touches on specified actions, doses, or medications around these steps to manage a flare.

  1. Use a quick-acting inhaler

Relief or rescue inhalers send a powerful stream of medicine straight to your constricted lungs. An inhaler should relax the tissues in your airways and make your breathing a little easier.

Commonly used short-acting bronchodilators are anticholinergics and beta2-agonists.

  1. Take oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation

Corticosteroids reduce swelling and could help to widen your airways. This will let more air in and out of your lungs. If you don’t have them in your treatment plan, your doctor might prescribe corticosteroids for you to take for a week or more after a flare. They help get the inflammation under control.

  1. Use an oxygen tank to get more oxygen into your body

In case you use supplemental oxygen at home, you could also use the supply during a flare. It’s best to follow the COPD action plan made by your doctor. Also, try to relax so you can control your breathing while you’re breathing in oxygen.

  1. Shift to a mechanical intervention

There are situations when rescue medication, anti-inflammatory steroids, and oxygen therapy don’t bring exacerbation symptoms back down to a manageable state.

If this is the case for you, you may need a mechanical intervention.

During an episode, the most important thing is to stay calm in order to minimize your symptoms.

But if you feel overwhelmed, get help right away.

Insomnia In Times of Stress and COVID-19

If you are experiencing insomnia or trouble sleeping due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, know that it’s a normal response to stress. We are under a lot of pressure, we may worry about our health and our loved ones, our daily lives have probably changed a lot, we worry about the economy and so on.

If you have problems with falling asleep or staying asleep in these uncertain times, there are some steps you can take to help you sleep better.

Sleep Schedule

One of the first steps to take when dealing with insomnia is maintaining a sleep schedule. Your body’s circadian rhythm needs consistency. By going to bed at the same time, your body will release a natural sleep hormone called melatonin, and also you’ll get tired at the same time every night.

And just like you set an alarm to wake you up in the morning, you can set an alarm to remind you that it is time to go to sleep in the evening.

Intake of Caffeine and Alcohol

You need to be extra careful with the consumption of coffee when you have problems with insomnia. Caffeine stays in your body for more than 6 hours, so avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon or evening hours.

A lot of people might find themselves drinking alcohol during the weekdays due to self-isolation. Now, you might think that alcohol helps you fall asleep, and you’re probably right. However, the trouble with alcohol is that it makes it difficult to stay asleep. In fact, 27 studies showed that alcohol reduces REM sleep. And REM sleep is the deep, restorative stage of sleep.

So, our tip is to limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day.

Exercise

With all the gyms closed, it would be no wonder if you have difficulties to exercise at home. Keep in mind that exercise is beneficial to your overall physical and mental state, and for quality sleep, too. The most important thing is not to exercise too close to bedtime because it might keep you awake.

Confront Your Feelings

These are stressful times for all of us. If you don’t take the time to process your feelings and worries during the day, they might come during the night in the form of bad dreams or insomnia.

It’s a good idea to write a journal or share your feelings with your loved ones.

Screen Time

Since we are spending most of our time home, we tend to spend more time in front of computers, TVs, and phones. Now, this is a good thing when it comes to connecting with other people while in self-isolation. But, if you spend too much time on social media or news sites, it can increase your stress and anxiety, particularly in challenging times like these. Also, blue lights from screens disrupt melatonin production, which is a hormone that helps us relax and sleep. And the lower level of melatonin together with anxiety-inducing content can cause or contribute to insomnia.

This is why we recommend to turn off your screens for 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

Bedtime Routine

Children do well when they follow a bedtime routine like taking a shower, putting on pajamas, brushing their teeth, reading bedtime stories, and a goodnight hug. And adults are not an exception. Adults could use a bedtime routine just as much as children do. A bedtime routine is a way to prepare your body and mind that it’s time to sleep and relax. It should include your nighttime hygiene routine, but also something relaxing like reading or listening to music. It’s best to have a routine simple and consistent.

Takeaway

Our tips might be overwhelming for you to try them all at once. If that is the case, try incorporating one by one, choose one thing to work on this week, then another thing next week. Have self-compassion because the future feels extra scary and unknown right now.