On yesterday’s version of Tea Time we had a lively conversation about personal hygiene, bathing and showering with chronic illness like COPD. Most of those that responded agreed that it was not their favourite task and that it was accompanied with a certain amount of anxiety. I take my time to get ready for a shower and like to plan the steps out in advance. Following are some of the comments that came up from participants.

In the meantime have a look at this video from YouTube.

Showering with COPD and Chronic Illness

And my boards on Pinterest



Slip and Fall Factors for Personal Hygiene

The first thing we need to do is to have a look around your bathroom and remove all slip and fall obstacles. Those bathroom rugs serve no purpose for those of us who could fall or trip over them. Remove any clutter from your showering area and get rid of all the old shampoo and soap bottles and bars. You only need immediate use items in the bathroom. Remove all those old magazines and look for new homes for anything else that could be a slip and fall issue.

Shower Caddy for Showering and Bathing

Having all of your showering items in a shower caddy saves you trips in and out of the shower. Ensure that all the things you may need are included like shampoo, soap, razors, nail clippers and toothpaste. Transferring shampoo and liquid body soap into plastic pump bottles is great idea as it allows you to use them with one hand free. I get mine at the dollar store and they are reusable.

Using Grabs Bars

Have grab bars professionally installed to ensure you have confidence when standing up in the shower. You will need one in front and one to the side of you. Don’t forget that one should also be placed beside the toilet. These grab bars are fairly common and there are multiple varieties. When installing them, make sure they go into a stud for stability. There is also a variety of grab bars that are held by suction. I have never used them but they would be great if you don’t own your home or are thinking of moving soon.

Shower Stool / Chair for Your Personal Use

Accessorize your tub with a showering stool or chair. There are many varieties to choose from and they are affordable, lightweight and easy to take in and out of the shower.

Another variety from Amazon anchors into the wall with a seat that folds up and down. I like this one because it is never in the way when others want to use the tub.

Regardless of which on you use, find one you can be comfortable using in the shower. Remember to warm that seat before you sit on it!

Lightweight Stool

Use a lightweight stool beside the tub so that when you exit the tub you have a handy accessible and safe place to sit. I bought mine for under $20.00 over 40 years ago and it has been kicking around ever since.

I can easily drag it with my foot anyplace I want it to be when I want to use it. I also use it to sit down while I dry my hair after my shower.

Also, have a pair of slippers ready for your exit from the shower to make sure you have solid footing under you.

Hand Held Shower Head is a Great Addition for Showering

When you can’t catch your breath, the last thing you want is water on your face, especially if you are using supplemental oxygen in the shower. Using a good hand held shower head makes sure that I have control of where the water goes and won’t have to fight the water while fighting to catch your breath. Varieties start at about $10.00 and go up to hundreds. Mine was about $75.00 and does exactly what I want it to do. It is basic but sturdy and has a variety of pressure sprays.

Windows and Doors Open with Showering

Take advantage of the ceiling fan and leaving windows open a crack and doors open. This will allow the air to circulate and lets hot air escape. When the hot water causes too much humidity it can play havoc with our stressed lungs. Also have your phone charged and beside the tub in case you need someone to come and save you.

A Terry Robe Accompanies your Bath

There is nothing like wrapping yourself into a thirsty terry robe after your shower. We often don’t have enough energy to dry ourselves off and let’s face it, it is uncomfortable sitting and getting cold after a shower. Wrapping yourself in a terry robe will soak up all the moisture. Another great tip mentioned, was micro fibre hand towels or using a hair dryer to dry away any excess water.

Supplemental Oxygen and Showering

Using supplemental oxygen in the shower is a must! Not only should you use it you may want to increase the 02 flow while showering. Remember to return to normal pressure after your shower is over. I hang my tubing over the top of the shower curtain and let it hang long enough to put the canula into my nose.

Final Thoughts on Your Personal Hygiene and Showering

  • If you find showering a tough task, if is OK to skip a day.
  • When going to doctors or any event, shower the night before
  • When washing your hair is too much, you can break down the tasks by showering one day and washing your hair in the kitchen sink the next day.
  • Using a dry shampoo on days when you can’t catch your breath is acceptable along with wet wipes for washing
  • We need to manage our feet and make sure there is no build up of skin and nails are maintained properly. Talk to your doctor if you can not manage this task.
  • When I shower I put the plug in the tub to allow my feet to soak making nails easier to clip afterwards.
  • Never leave medications in the bathroom. Too much humidity can affect your meds in a negative way.


I use this Shower Meditation to help get through the process of showering without anxiety


Another post to ponder: https://catchyourbreath60.com/maintaining-mental-health-with-chronic-illness-and-copd/


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