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  • Christina Hunt

Dollar Store Finds for People with Lung Conditions



I have been wanting to write this blog for a while now. Due to my own personal interests, I follow other bloggers. I love when these bloggers write content that is all about being on a budget and finding products pertaining to their niche that are not only great, but are affordable. I started to think about how I could use this idea but focus it toward people with lung conditions. That’s when I thought about the Dollar Tree! (FYI – this blog is NOT sponsored.) If you aren’t familiar with the Dollar Tree or live outside the U.S. (which many of my readers do) let me tell you all about this place. For starters, the Dollar Tree is a store where EVERYTHING in the store is priced at just one dollar. No matter the size or the type of merchandise you find in there… the price never deviates from one dollar. The store is essentially a hodge podge of random items from party supplies to kitchenware that I wondered… could I find items that people with lung conditions could use and maybe find a few that might cause me to “think outside the box” for a purpose for lung patients. Needless to say, this task was a lot of fun. As you all know, I am an Amazon shopper all the way. With a husband, three kids, and essentially working two jobs finding time to go shopping is few and far between. However, I do recognize a good deal when I see it and so I thought I would take you on my journey to find items for people with lung conditions at the Dollar Tree. So what did I find??? Read on my friend!


Upon entering the store I was immediately confronted with the latest holiday gear and party prep. Memorial Day in the U.S. was right around the corner and the Dollar Tree was prepared for people to come looking for supplies to celebrate the occasion. The first thing I ran into was a pinwheel! So why does this concern you??? Well, a pinwheel is a perfect way to practice your pursed-lip breathing techniques! (See Breathing Techniques Blog) Along with the pinwheel there were other kid friendly toys that are great for the lung patient! When I worked pediatrics, we would give children that were recovering from lung collapse, thoracic surgery, or pneumonia a jar of bubbles. It encouraged them to take deep breaths in and purse lip breathe. This deep breathing is also good for adults with lung conditions. It is also a fun way for adults and grandparents with lung conditions to work on deep breathing all the while doing something fun with kids. You blow the bubbles… have the kids “catch” them! When it comes to the harmonica, there is an actual program called Harmonicas for Health sponsored by the COPD Foundation and the Pulmonary Empowerment Program. This program was created especially for COPD and other chronic lung diseases. According to the COPD Foundation, Harmonicas for Health will help you learn how to have better control of your breathing, exercise the muscles that help pull air in and push air out of the lungs, strengthen abdominal muscles for a more effective cough as well as several other awesome benefits. If you are interested in finding out more, click on this link to the COPD Foundation.


It’s summer in Virginia so the next section of items in the store were geared toward summer time activities. There were lots of items that caught my eye but this water infuser insulated cup grabbed me. Staying hydrated is a struggle for many of my patients. I can understand for many people they just don’t enjoy drinking water, but there are soooo many benefits that drinking water can do for you and your lung condition. First of all, it helps to thin mucus in the lungs making it easier to cough out. Drinking water helps people with lung conditions fight off infections helping you to remove toxins and waste from the body. Water is what helps your joints, eyes, skin, and mouth stay lubricated and/or hydrated as well as it helps the body to regulate its temperature. So if you aren’t a person who loves the taste of plain water you can try this infuser and add fruits, cucumber, and other natural flavoring to the inner chamber and capitalize on wonderful benefits of staying hydrated.


The next section I came across was the office and craft section. Not knowing what lie ahead I found this wonderful craft storage box that you could possibly label with a sharpie and use as a medication organizer or pill box. I also found these small magnetic containers that could easily slide into a pocket or purse if you needed to take medication with you on the go or you could use them to organize morning and evening medications. Subsequently, I eventually found this medication organizer… but hey… can’t have too many of these right?! LOL! The other item that I found in the office/craft section was this bound memo pad. I loved this because the pages didn’t tear out easily and I thought it would be a good place to keep notes for you next doctor’s appointment, write down a brief health/surgical history to keep with you, or maintain an updated list of your medications. I absolutely love memo pads because I keeps me organized and focused when I have important meetings and/or appointments to attend.


After the craft/office section, I felt like I was on a roll and I proceeded on… and much to my surprise… I found a resistance band for exercising! I was pumped because you can use this band for so much and it was only a dollar! Boom! Just playing around with this sucker, I could put it around my thighs to help strengthen my hips, stretching it with both hands worked my chest, and maneuvering it by holding it in one hand, it was able to do great exercises for my triceps and biceps. This little gadget was a diamond in the rough! (Please email me or comment below if you want me to do a blog on some exercises you could try with this little marvel.)


Next I went on to the hygiene section. I was pleasantly surprised to see all the variation that this store had when it came to types of lotions and soaps however it was difficult to find “non-scented” products. So for all of you asthmatics and those with reactive airways, unscented products may be a bit more hard to find (aren’t they always?) but not impossible. However when I came across these body and face wipes, something clicked. Many people with lung conditions have a very difficult time bathing due to breathlessness and energy expenditure. (See Bathing Tips) It can be very hard for them to bathe every day and many times they feel it necessary to wait until they have someone around the house that can help them in a pinch with the bathing process. I thought these wipes were a perfect solution to “in between” bathing days or as I like to call it “spot cleaning” so that you can feel refreshed. These were lightly scented for men and women but not overwhelming, I thought. The other “find” was this bath scrub brush with an extended handle… it could be used for the back, but my thought that it could be used for reaching feet and legs without the need to bend over quite so much.


After hygiene, I hit the “mother load” aisle to which I picked up a few things but felt as though there were so much more available for not only people with lung conditions but other chronic illnesses. I saw generic Tylenol, Advil, and asprin. I saw single use heating pads/patches, generic Ace bandages, cough drops, and peroxide. I was in seventh heaven finding that there were so many items that lung patients use on a daily basis. I didn’t want to buy the whole aisle however I did pick up a few special items. The first thing I threw into my cart were the masks. In the package contained 10 of them! I encourage people with lung conditions to wear a light weight mask if they are to do any yardwork, visit the sick, clean, or work in any dusty environment. I purchased a 3-pack of these pocket sized Kleenex (name brand... yay!) because I don’t know a single person who lives in Virginia (lung condition or not) that doesn’t suffer from allergies at one point throughout the year. I was able to find a two pack of pocket sized hand sanitizer (great for avoiding germs) and then I stumbled upon generic Mucinex!!! Yep, my favorite expectorant was sitting on the self for just one dollar. Heck Yeah!



Lastly as I rounded a few more aisles, I found a few items that I had mentioned in my Life Hacks for Lung Patients blog. I found a sunglasses case that oxygen wearers could attach to their portable oxygen systems and store their cannulas in. I found a toothbrush holder (it actually came with the toothbrush) that you could use to clip over your nasal cannula when not in use. I located a pair of tongs that people with lung conditions could store in their bathtub or shower to be used to pick up items they drop. I also found this roll of Velcro that I felt would be useful in storing oxygen and CPAP tubing preventing the all familiar “tangled spaghetti” situation from occurring.


I have to say my visit to the dollar store was fun. I enjoyed getting a little creative at times and finding some of my favorite items for lung patients as well. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!


Remember: We are in this TOGETHER!


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:) Christina


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