As temperatures rise and the sun shines brightly, summer beckons us to get outside and embrace the joys of the season. However, for people with asthma, this season can present unique challenges in managing their respiratory health. But fear not! With the right knowledge and some expert advice, you can go through the summer with confidence while keeping asthma symptoms at bay. Let’s take a look at some summer asthma management tips and what can trigger it.
Asthma Triggers to Watch Out for in Summer
In summer, there are several factors that can trigger asthma symptoms. When Health Shots approached Dr. Nevin Kishore, Head of Bronchology and Senior Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Max Hospital, Gurugram, he told us about some common summer asthma triggers to be aware of:
1. Pollen: In people with allergic asthma, higher amounts of pollen from weeds, trees, and grasses can cause allergic responses. This can lead to asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
2. Air pollution: Due to variables including increased vehicle emissions and tropospheric ozone production, the summer season is often accompanied by increased air pollution. Air pollution can aggravate respiratory symptoms in people with asthma.
3. Heat and physical activity: The increased respiratory rate that accompanies high temperatures can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
4. Outdoor activities: Outdoor activities during the summer, such as gardening, hiking, and camping, can expose people to a variety of triggers, including pollen, mold, and air pollution.
Tips to control asthma in summer
1. Avoid going outside during heat spikes and dust storms
During hot and dusty weather conditions, it is recommended that people with asthma stay indoors as much as possible. “High temperatures and dust storms can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms,” says Dr. Kishore. If going out is necessary, try to limit exposure by scheduling outdoor activities during the coolest times of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
2. Use a damp cloth around the nose and mouth
Dr. Kishore advises that if you must venture outdoors during peak heat or dust storms, consider using a damp cloth to cover your nose and mouth. This can help filter out some of the irritants in the air, providing a barrier between your airways and potential triggers.
3. Avoid desert coolers in rooms
According to Dr. Kishore, desert coolers, commonly known as shell coolers, can be a source of mold and dust buildup. These allergens can make asthma symptoms worse. Air conditioning or other cooling methods that do not rely on evaporative cooling are recommended to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.
4. Use inhalers prescribed by your doctor
Consistent use of prescription inhalers is crucial to controlling asthma symptoms. During the summer, when triggers are more frequent, it becomes even more important to stick to your medication regimen. Inhalers help reduce inflammation and keep the airways open, which minimizes the risk of asthma attacks.
5. Avoid exercising in extreme heat
Physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but exercising in extreme heat can strain the respiratory system and trigger asthma symptoms. Opt to exercise indoors or choose cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to enjoy outdoor activities.
6. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential for overall health, especially during the summer months. “Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep your airways moist and reduces the risk of mucus buildup, which can contribute to asthma symptoms,” says Dr. Kishore. Opt for water, herbal teas, and hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables.
Also read: World Asthma Day: How weight control can improve asthma symptoms
By following these expert tips, people with asthma can effectively manage their condition and enjoy the summer season. Remember to consult with your health care provider for personalized advice and an asthma management plan that is tailored to your specific needs.