It’s important to be aware of allergy- and asthma-related issues that can occur during warmer months. Asthma flare-ups can occur during the summer as children and adults spend more time outdoors, engage in physical activities, and breath in allergens and smog. You don’t have to stay indoors all summer, just keep in mind the most common causes of summer breathing issues:
Common causes of summer breathing problems
The weather. A windy day or thunderstorm can stir up mold and fungal spores, leaving those with asthma and allergies more susceptible to flare-ups. Humidity and heat can also make asthma symptoms worse.
Poor air quality. Ozone levels in the air we breathe increase when it’s hot outside. Ozone can irritate the airway and lungs, leading to breathing issues.
Campfires. It’s fine to enjoy a bonfire and s’mores, just stay upwind of the smoke and avoid breathing it in.
Pools and hot tubs. Chlorine can cause breathing issues for some people. If you notice burning or stinging in your throat, lungs, eyes, or nose, leave the pool immediately and seek medical care if symptoms don’t subside.
Protect your respiratory health
Here are my tips to protect your respiratory health this summer:
Check the air quality index daily. Get into a habit of checking the air quality index each day. You can get the report online or by watching the morning news. If it’s a poor air quality day, consider limiting your time outside or plan activities when ozone is less present in the air, such as in the mornings or late evenings.
Always keep a quick-relief inhaler with you if you have asthma. Don’t leave it in the car or in direct sunlight. Also, keep an eye on the expiration date. If your child has asthma, make sure he or she keeps an inhaler on hand as well, particularly while on vacation or at camp.
Use air conditioning. Running the A/C reduces humidity, which helps prevent mold growth that can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Keep your home’s humidity level between 30 to 50 percent. Also, change your home’s air filter regularly. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s a very hot day, consider going to a mall, movie theater, library, community center or museum to cool off.
Talk to your physician about an asthma plan. If you or your child has trouble breathing, talk to your primary care or family medicine physician. You or your child may have asthma and will need a treatment plan to prevent serious complications.
If you have severe difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1. If you suspect you have allergies or asthma, see a primary care physician. To find one near you, visit pardeehospital.org/primarycare.