Log in
British Lung Foundation
36,939 members44,099 posts

Small Pocket fan could help you breath?

I have just been reading a very interesting article about breathlessness. Sometimes we are out of breath because our brain is telling us we should be! It transpires that when we do some activities we tense up and even hold our breath a little to long. So the brain gets all the signals that we need to breath even more so gives us the feeling we are SOB?

Now once this happens get out that little fan you take on your hols and blow it on the face and breath though the nose if you can. Your nose will feel the extra little blast up the nostrils and assume it is more air coming in and reduce the SOB reaction the brain has given out.

I have often been out on a nice day and a slight breeze has made me feel better so this could have legs or should it be nose?

Another tip was when getting out of a chair breath out at the same time hands on thighs and use the legs to stand?

Would love to hear if it has worked for you?

Be Well

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.
21 Replies

"Another tip was when getting out of a chair breath out at the same time hands on thighs and use the legs to stand?"

When I did my PR course we were taught to always breathe out when doing the hardest bit of the exercise or task. For example, to inhale as you put your foot on the stair/step and exhale as you exert pressure and move up; to inhale as you put your hands on the chair arms then exhale as you push to your feet. It is a good tip. :)


I think I do it the wrong way around :)

It does take practice. :)

1 like

the little fan works for me - I have trouble in hot dry weather and this does help :)

1 like

I never thought of the reason why though?

The cool air is believed to trigger the mamalian diving response when the trigeminal nerve that is sensitive to cooling in the nasal cavity and face reduce heart rate and breathing through the autonomic nervous system.


Thanks for the explanation...I use my M and S mini fan on my face especially at night when I feel short of breath. It feels a bit like oxygen coming from a mask to me.

I have a very good McMillan booklet called Managing Breathlessness, and it recommends a hand held fan as well as gentle belly breathing and suitable postures to make breathing easier.

well yes I live in a nursing home for my sins and everytime I get breathless because something in my brain is screaming out for more air the staff just put my room fan on full for about half an hour and that works a treat

When I was in Royal Brompton with pneumonia (on top of NSIL and PAH), and very breathless, the palliative care nurse gave me a hand fan which was really, really helpful. It is black, feels robust, can be unclicked to form a little stand. It had a £3 sticker on it- very good value. I did have a big fan by my bed, which I had on most of the time (hospitals are very hot). However the little fan helped me when I was coughing and as I got breathless as I began to move about again and got breathless - stopped me getting panicky. I took it everywhere in my dressing gown pocket. It now resides in my handbag for quick access. I also have a 10'' fan at the side of my bed.


I keep a hand held fan in my handbag. It's invaluable!! Bought from M & S for £6.00. In the house I use fans too when hot or breathless. Always seems to help.

before i was put on oxygen, my respiratory nurse advised i buy a small bedside fan, i got one for £8 50 from argos, it has three speeds and swivels around, a small price to pay for mild sob [if sob could be called mild] but on many occasions this did help me.

i remember this respiratory nurse, mentioning, something based on what you say :) jimmy

It's to do with the nerve endings in your face having some connection to your airways. Learnt that at PR and I often blow slowly on the little ones face when she starts with the asthmatic coughing. It really works. ..... so if you've no little fan handy then get a dear one to blow on your face ;)

I cant get her make a cup of tea ;)

1 like

I frequently just pull the hose from my face mask and give myself a few minutes of lovely cold oxygen to refresh my face neck and wrists and the plug the connector back on my mask. Rib

I agree fans are really helpful which makes it even more ridiculous that in my local hospital they are not allowed - apparently because they 'fan the germs around '!! My consultant said I was to have one by the bed but he lost the battle to nursing staff who said they wouldn't go against the health and safety directive... Flipping ridiculous


Yet they found most germs are spread by the doctors not cleaning the hands before/after each bed visit!


that is ridiculous frose,,i was given a fan, in hospital with no problems, sometimes the nursing staff can go over the score

just a wee bitty off topic about the nursing staff,:) i remember some time ago, whilst in hospital with an exacerbation, i asked the consultant, off hand, if he could give me a "trial without catheter" "no problem" he said, so the catheter was removed the following morning, but if i hadn't been to the toilet by 1pm it would go back in,,

now just before 1pm i saw the consultant again, and asked for more time, as i thought i was on the verge of p,,ing, so he gave me till 5pm, but if in pain, i was to push the alarm ,,

but this " sour faced sister :D," "i dont care what the consultant says,, its going in"she would insist on putting the catheter back in at 1pm, i firstly was very polite and told her the consultant says ive to get a bit longer, possibly until 5pm, she still insisted, so after 3 times of telling her politely, i lost the rag and told her to "just go away ? :D " so she went away in a real temper,

eventually i had to press my buzzer as i was in much pain, the consultant came by luck and congratulated me on at least "trying" so he pulled the screens round and fitted the catheter in two ticks,,,,,,then winked and laughed,, and said ,,"bet your glad it was me who put that catheter in,, and not that sister :D ",,, i was :D :D,,but the sister came back and apologised,, jimmy :)

Haha great story! I think staff sometimes need reminding we are adults with brains and don't need them making all decisions for us!

1 like

I'm never without my hand held fans, I carry them everywhere no matter what the weather is like.

I like this post offcut,- thanks for sharing! It's a simple concept yet somehow 'sits' right and worth giving some thought to. Have a good weekend :)

Little fan works for me too. I got mine from a pound land shop. When I finished my PR course last year, I got everyone a little fan as a present, instead of the usual cake


The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.

You may also like...