As the temperature soars in summer, people with mild asthma may find it a little difficult to cope up with increased heat and humidity which often makes breathing laborious. As your body tries to cool itself, it uses more oxygen, making the lungs work harder. Knowing how to manage your asthma in these conditions will help you evade the symptoms, and enjoy even the hottest of summer days.
Below, Dr Prashant Chhajed, head of respiratory medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi- A Fortis Network Hospital shares a few triggers of the condition and suggests ways to manage it.
Symptoms of asthma:
*Shortness of breath
*Troubles while sleeping
Triggers to be cautious about:
*Amplified air pollution
Summer can intensify environmental factors such as pollen or pollution. Bad air quality makes people with asthma vulnerable to breathing difficulties and asthma attacks. Amplified air pollution from smog and higher pollen count is bad for the lungs.
*Hot and humid air
This may trigger asthma symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. Heat and humidity offer a productive breeding ground for allergens like molds and dust mites (which commonly thrive in humid air).
*Changes in the weather
Sudden changes in the weather can trigger an asthma attack; this could be as simple as a refreshing cool breeze or increased humidity. Moreover, windy weather can cause further discomfort to individuals who suffer from mold, pollen or grass allergies.
You must consult an allergist who is an expert in diagnosing and handling allergic and asthmatic diseases. They can help you develop ‘asthma action plans’ to ensure that you don’t bear the brunt of changing temperatures and seasons.
Tips to keep summer asthma triggers at bay:
*Don’t hang wet clothes outdoors for a longer period of time
Clothes hanging outside to dry can collect pollen. Use a clothes dryer when pollen levels are high.
*Medication regimen for kids:
During summer, if close attention is paid to a child’s medication regimen, children with asthma can play the sport of their choice freely. It is important for the coach to be aware of the child’s asthmatic condition though. Both your child and coach should be able to recognise symptoms and know when your child should stop the activity and use a quick-relief inhaler.
*Keep your relief inhaler with you:
Keep your asthma inhalers out of direct sunlight and out of places known to get too hot, such as the glove compartment of your car. Your inhalers should stay close-by and cool. No matter the weather, take your controller medications regularly and keep your relief inhaler with you. You wouldn’t know when asthma symptoms may strike, particularly in extreme temperatures.
*Stay indoors on hot humid days:
Summer holidays often include overnight stays and travel away from home. However, try to avoid going out in the sun, but if you do go then ensure that you check the weather forecast and are ready with an asthma travel pack with all the necessary medicines. It is advisable to limit your exposure to humid environments.