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Asthma and the heat

2016 Asthma Allison Burns

Turning Up the Heat (and Humidity) on Asthma
By Allison Burns, RRT, CRE, Asthma Education Program Coordinator

You would think after waiting through months and months of cold, snowy, rainy weather that we would all be rejoicing when the heat arrived, but for many asthma patients, the heat and humidity are not the most ideal weather conditions.

Hot, humid air contains air pollutants which can aggravate some patient's asthma by increasing the inflammation in their airways.  It is very important to follow these tips if heat and humidity are triggers for your asthma (or COPD).

  • Be careful when you exercise. Pick a cooler time of the day when it is less humid to do your run or to ride your bike.   2016 Asthma 2

  • If you want to exercise in the middle of the day when the heat / humidity is at its highest, try an indoor activity.

  • Stay hydrated. If you are dehydrated, your heart has to work harder to pump. To help it out, your breathing will become faster to help decrease the workload on your heart.

  • Avoid your triggers the best you can. There are so many potential triggers in the summer…try to figure out what yours are and avoid or limit your contact with them.

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  • Take your medications as they are prescribed…yes, I know I'm saying it again!

  • Check the Air Quality Health Index (www.airhealth.ca) to monitor what the air quality is. If the rating is 7 or above, avoid outdoor activities if air pollutants are a trigger for you.

  • Check the humidity rating as well. This is usually attached to the weather network and you will often hear it broadcast on the radio.  If humidity is a trigger for you, this reading can help you plan for your day.

  • Have your action plan on your refrigerator door so you can refer to it quickly if need be. 

For a list of asthma clinics and more helpful tips, visit: /home/facilities-and-services/services/clinics/asthma-clinic.aspx

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