As the temperatures rise and the sun shines bright, summer beckons us to step 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 a few expert tips, you can confidently navigate the summer while keeping asthma symptoms at bay. Let’s take a look at some tips to manage asthma in summer and what can trigger it.
In summer, there are several factors that can trigger asthma symptoms. As Health Shots reached out to Dr Nevin Kishore, Head of Bronchology and Senior Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Max Hospital, Gurugram, he told us about some common triggers for asthma during the summer that one should look out for:
1. Pollen: In persons with allergic asthma, higher quantities of pollen from weeds, trees, and grasses can cause allergic responses. Asthma symptoms including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath may result from this.
2. Air pollution: Due to variables including higher vehicle emissions and the production of ground-level ozone, the summer season is frequently accompanied with increased air pollution. Air pollution can aggravate airway symptoms in people with asthma.
3. Heat and physical activity: The increased breathing rate that comes with hot temperatures may exacerbate asthma symptoms.
4. Outdoor activities: Summertime outside activities like gardening, hiking, and camping can expose people to a variety of triggers like pollen, mold, and air pollution.
During hot and dusty weather conditions, it is advisable for individuals with asthma to stay indoors as much as possible. “High heat and dust storms can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms,” says Dr Kishore. If it is necessary to go outside, try to limit exposure by scheduling outdoor activities during cooler hours of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
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Dr Kishore advises if you must venture outside during peak heat or dust storms, consider using a moist cloth to cover your nose and mouth. This can help filter out some of the irritants present in the air, providing a barrier between your airways and potential triggers.
According to Dr Kishore, desert coolers, commonly known as husk coolers, can be a source of mold and dust accumulation. These allergens can worsen asthma symptoms. It is recommended to use air conditioning or other cooling methods that do not rely on evaporative cooling to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.
Consistently using prescribed inhalers is crucial in managing asthma symptoms. During the summer, when triggers are more prevalent, it becomes even more important to adhere to your medication regimen. Inhalers help reduce inflammation and keep the airways open, minimizing the risk of asthma attacks.
Engaging in physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but exercising in extreme heat can strain the respiratory system and trigger asthma symptoms. Opt for indoor exercise or choose cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to enjoy outdoor activities.
Staying hydrated is essential for overall health, particularly during the summer months. “Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep the 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.
By following these expert tips, individuals with asthma can effectively manage their condition and enjoy the summer season. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and an asthma management plan that suits your specific needs.