At-Home Safety: Top 10 Hot Weather Tips for Those with Asthma

July 20, 2010
The dog days of summer can slow most of us to a crawl in search of shade, ice and water. But for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the combination of high heat and humidity with congested and polluted air can leave them gasping for breath.

Here are a few tips for staying hydrated, cool and breathing easy this summer, especially if you don’t have air conditioning:

  1. Use your quick-relief inhaler at the first sign of symptoms. If you’re not breathing well within 30 minutes after use, follow your written asthma action plan or call your physician for further instructions – but don’t wait until symptoms become life threatening. That’s risky business, particularly in the heat.
  2. Drink a lot of water or sports drinks to replenish electrolytes, or blend whole fruit into a delicious concoction. Try watermelon; pineapple and honeydew; peaches; or Bing cherries.
  3. If you must sit outside, soak your feet in a basin or tub of ice water.
  4. Drench a dishtowel in ice water and sling it around the back of your neck. Repeat often.
  5. Take a break to see a movie in an air-conditioned theater.
  6. Go to the grocery store and stand in the frozen-food section as long as possible during the heat of the day.
  7. When watering your garden, squirt yourself with the hose. So what if the neighbors are watching?
  8. Mind over matter: Convince yourself that it’s snowing outside and you just ate a hot bowl of chili.
  9. If you don’t need that piece of electronic equipment plugged in, unplug it. You’d be surprised how many gadgets give off heat.
  10. If the air conditioning isn’t working at the office, go home or speak to management to ensure safe working conditions.

These tips are provided by Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA).

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