Breathlessness

Changing your habits

A few changes in your everyday habits can make a big difference. And they can help you cope when you  get out of breath.

Have a look at our suggestions:

Aim to be as independent as you can. This helps keep you active. If you get breathless doing things like washing, dressing or cooking, an occupational therapist may be able to help. They can give you information and equipment to make tasks easier.

Our top tips to manage your breathless

  • Use a towelling robe after showering or bathing, as you’ll use less energy than drying off with a towel.
  • Try using a handheld battery fan near your face – this can help  you to feel less breathless.
  • Plan your day to make sure you have time to rest.
  • Find simple ways to cook, clean and do other chores. You could use a small table or cart with wheels to move things around your home, and a pole or tongs with long handles to reach things.
  • Put items that you use often in easy-to-reach places.
  • Keep your clothes loose, and wear clothes and shoes that are easy to put on and take off.
  • Use a wheeled walking frame when walking about – this give extra support and makes it easier to transport things
  • Some people find carrying a stick helps them to feel less self-conscious about going slowly when they are out and about.

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Download our breathlessness PDF (716 KB)

Last medically reviewed: November 2017. Due for review: November 2020

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.