For those with asthma, summertime can be bittersweet.
The warm air and sunshine are anticipated during the long winter months, but many people find extreme changes in the weather to be their biggest asthma trigger. This is especially true when moving from a hot humid day outside into a cool building.
To stay alert and help keep asthma from flaring up during the summer months, remember to –
- Keep cool. If you spend time outdoors, avoid the hottest parts of the day. You could trade your outdoor run, for an indoor gym session or swim.
- Stay hydrated. It is important to drink plenty throughout the day to maintain a good hydration level to lessen your symptoms where possible.
- Avoid smoke. Make sure to avoid smokers and keep your distance from campfires and smoky barbecues.
- Check the air quality. The Environmental Protection Agency monitors five major air pollutants and uses a color-coded system to display the current Air Quality Index. When the Air Quality Index reaches unhealthy levels, people who have asthma should limit strenuous outdoor activities. Visit airnow.gov to check your local air quality.
- Shower. Showering after coming back inside will reduce allergens and other trigger exposures that you bring back into your home.
- Always carry your rescue inhaler. You never know when you may have a problem or what sort of trigger you may encounter because of extreme heat or other extreme weather. Remember that inhalers also don’t like heat; try to avoid storing them in a hot glove box.
- Follow your action plan. Your asthma action plan helps you know what to do if the extreme weather makes your asthma symptoms worse.
Sources: UW Health, “Health Information, Health Facts for You”, (accessed April 30, 2018), available at uwhealth.org.