It may be September, but we’ll still have plenty of heat and humidity to face before the seasons change. That sort of forecast isn’t great news for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Heat and humidity lead them to experience an increase in symptoms during the humid times of the year. With hot, moist weather, your body has to work harder to try to maintain a body temperature of 98.6 degrees. The harder your body works, the more oxygen it needs. As a result, you may feel short of breath, tired and unable to enjoy the summer weather.
Here are five of the most important things you can do, according to Ashley Holman, RN, BSN, Clinical Resources Manager with Avera Health Plans:
- Stay indoors when it’s hot and humid out and keep your air conditioner running. Not only does your air conditioner keep your house cool, it also takes some of the humidity out of the air.
- Drink plenty of water. This will help cool down your body temperature as well as thin out mucous.
- Avoid extra physical activity. Plan activities for the morning or evening hours when the sun is not at its peak.
- Take your medications as directed by your provider. Do not miss a day even if you are feeling fine. Have rescue inhalers readily available for use if needed.
- In most cases, shortness of breath is not normal. Know when to see your doctor and seek medical attention when needed.
The most important thing to remember is to be proactive. Monitoring the progression of COPD by having regular checkups with your doctor is the key to getting the best treatment. Information in this post came from the National Emphysema Foundation.