Seasonal Spotlight: Asthma and Summer

3 Factors That May be Worsening Your Summer Asthma

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Asthma sufferers often welcome the summer months as a relief from the triggers of the spring season. However, breathing easily amongst the picnics, barbeques, and other outdoor events is still a challenge for many during the summer months. While each individual’s asthma responds differently to environmental factors, there are a few key components at play when it comes to summer asthma triggers. Understanding these potential triggers may help manage your potential for an asthma attack.

Humidity

Individuals with asthma won’t all react the same to factors like humidity, but for many people with asthma, high humidity and heat can be a major aggravator to their symptoms. The increased temperature and moisture in the air has been shown to restrict airways in patients with asthma or other breathing problems. Additionally, these conditions provide an especially good environment for common triggers like mold and dust mites to thrive, worsening the effects.

Thunderstorms

Characteristic of the summer months, thunderstorms have been shown to increase asthma-related emergency room visits. The high winds have a tendency to increase airborne fungal and pollen spores, making this a time for asthmatics to use caution outdoors.

Ozone

Poor air quality can act as a trigger for asthmatics, but why? Well, the combined effects of strong sunlight, urban traffic-related pollution, and extreme heat promotes the production of ozone. An increased production of ozone acts to stagnate and concentrate the already-present pollutants, making them a powerful agonist for people with asthma or other breathing problems.

To learn more about Ozone and asthma, click here (http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=pubs.aqiguideozone)

Tips for Managing Your Summer Asthma

  • Be vigilant to high heat or humidity days. On days with high heat, humidity, or even ozone warnings, make an effort to stay indoors or run your errands early in the day. Check your local air quality before leaving the house here (http://www.airnow.gov/)
  • If you have allergies, make sure to get them under control and limit exposure to allergens. Shower immediately after being outdoors for extended periods of time if possible. This will help to keep outdoor triggers from affecting you in your home.
  • Carry your rescue inhaler, especially when doing outdoor or strenuous activities. Your asthma and allergies can fluctuate with the seasons, so talk to your doctor about changing your dosage or medication for the summer months if you’re suffering from additional symptoms.
  • Keep cool. Closing windows and running the air conditioning will help lessen the effect of asthma and allergy triggers. Set your unit to circulate the air within the house only to keep irritants out completely. Additionally, regulating your indoor humidity to keep it below 50 percent will help.
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