Heat and Asthma: Why is my Asthma Worse in the Summer?

People who have asthma may often wonder: “Why is my asthma worse in the summer?” or “Does summertime make my asthma worse?”

Summer weather may make asthma worse. During hot days, people with asthma may experience an increase in asthma symptoms that can potentially lead to full-blown asthma attacks, according to Allergy & Asthma Network.

Hot and humid weather increases your exposure to air pollutants, mold spores and pollen, which can trigger asthma symptoms and make breathing difficult.

Common summer asthma symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing and coughing

You can take preventative steps to manage your asthma in the summer. Here are some ways to manage symptoms:

Monitor Your Asthma Forecast Daily

This predictive tool from Allergy & Asthma Network uses information about weather forecasts, seasonal plant growth and pollen levels, along with historical data, to identify days when asthma and allergy triggers may be present.

Check Your Local Air Quality Index Before Going Outside

Those with preexisting health conditions, which include asthma, can be especially affected by breathing in polluted air. The best preventative measure during days with high Air Quality Indexes (AQIs) is to limit the time you spend outside. When you are outside during high AQI days, do your best to not exercise or exert yourself.

Visit AirNow.gov to check your local AQI.

Keep Cool

Overheating can cause asthma attacks. To reduce your risk of overheating, stay inside in the hottest time of the day.

Use a dehumidifier and air conditioning with clean filters. It’s best to use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.

Stay Hydrated

Water helps thin any mucus in your lungs and airways. It can also cool your body off.

It’s important for those affected by summer asthma to understand that by planning ahead for summer activities, you can enjoy everything summertime has to offer while still managing lung disease.

UofL Health is here to help with all your lung care needs. Call UofL Physicians – Pulmonary Associates in Shelbyville at 502-647-4154 or UofL Physicians – Pulmonology in Louisville at 502-588-4710 to schedule an appointment.

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Article by: Gregory Pfister, M.D.

Greg Pfister, M.D., practices at UofL Physicians – Pulmonary Associates in Shelbyville, Ky. Dr. Pfister earned his M.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, Va., and he completed his residency in internal medicine and his fellowship in pulmonary medicine at University of Louisville School of Medicine. His areas of interest are internal medicine and pulmonology.

All posts by Gregory Pfister, M.D.
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