COPD Care and Education NS: Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore

The COPD Care and Education NS Program is currently in its pilot phase in the Musquodoboit Valley-Eastern Shore region of Nova Scotia.

Resources and support groups

Lung Health

Testing and diagnosis


Stop smoking

Help to breath easier

Using a handheld fan for shortness of breath

Photo of small handheld fan

This information is designed to help you manage stable, long term, shortness of breath. If your breathing is getting worse or you are experiencing new shortness of breath as a new feeling, it is important to seek medical advice and/or begin COPD Action Plan.

How will using a fan help my shortness of breath?

  • Cool air can help to lower the feeling of shortness of breath
  • You may wish to try:
    • A handheld fan
    • A desktop or floor fan
    • Opening a window, for example in the car
    • A cool cloth on your face

How should I use a handheld fan?

  • Fans with 3 or more rotating (turning) blades are most effective.
  1. When you feel short of breath, find a comfortable position. A Respiratory Therapist will talk about this with you.
  2. Hold the fan about 6 inches from your face, or the distance that feels best to you.
  3. Aim the air at the centre of your face, so that you feel it around the sides of your nose and above your top lip.
  • You should feel better within a few minutes

Use a fan for as long and as often as you wish. It will not cause any problems. It may help to use a fan:

  • when you stop for “a breather” while moving or walking.
  • for sudden shortness of breath when you are sitting still.

Resources in your Community

There are many places to get support and information about living with COPD:

  • Your primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner)
  • A walk-in clinic
  • Your pharmacist
  • Home care companies who provide CPAP machines and other equipment
  • Respiratory Educator at the Canadian Lung Association
    • Phone (toll-free): 1-866-717-2673
  • Nova Scotia Health Mental Health and Addictions Program
    • Quit smoking and alcohol programs
    • List of community programs
    • Support for mental health and addictions
    • Crisis and support phone lines