Changes in temperature have a profound effect on the lungs. Hot, humid weather aggravate lung disorders that’s why hospitalization rates increase during the summer season.
According to a European research, the combined effect of hot air temperature and humidity can disrupt the body’s ability to cool itself. Taking into account air pollution, researchers found that respiratory-related hospitalization increases by over 90% during the summer season, especially among those over 75 years old.
Common Summer Respiratory Issues
Asthma is an inflammatory disease characterized by recurrent obstruction of airflow to the lungs. Symptoms include wheezing, difficulty in breathing and chest tightness. Hot, humid environments and allergens often trigger this condition.
Summer season increases the moisture level in the air. And this increases the presence of airborne allergens – such as dust mites or pollen – into the air. Recurring summer rains and higher temperature during the day heightens the effects of allergens to the lungs. This inevitably leads to an asthma attack.
Anxiety-Related Respiratory Issues
Studies show that damp, hot weather increases the risk of shortness of breath caused by anxiety and depression. Summer season is particularly stressful especially to those who are sensitive to heat. As the body is bogged down by the high temps, it will work extra hard to cool itself down. When this happens, you will take in more air. Stress combined with utilization of more air leads to shortness of breath associated with either depressive disorders or anxiety.
Sustained exposure to hot and damp climate increases the risk of heat stroke. The common signs and symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, exhaustion, disorientation, severe headaches, and seizures. Heat stroke can be fatal if the patient is not rushed to the hospital immediately.
How to Avoid Summer-Related Lung Problems
Stay Indoors in Air-Conditioned Room
Summer’s not the best time to stay outdoors. You can avoid common summer allergens by reducing the length of time you stay outdoors. And if you’re indoors, we recommend staying in an air-conditioned room. The air conditioner will keep the air dry and cool, not warm and damp. The cool air will reduce the likelihood of asthma and other respiratory ailments triggered by summer days.
Wear Light Clothing
If you must head out, make sure to wear light clothing. Lighter clothing allowed moisture to dissipate into the air, effectively cooling the body. Thick, dark-colored clothing tend to trap moisture near the skin, causing body temp to shoot up. It helps if you can wear a dust mask to protect yourself from dust and pollen.
You sweat more during the summer season so it’s important to replenish lost body fluids. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated drinks or sugary beverages. Stick to plain water.
Reduce Indoor Heat
We recommend limiting the use of heat-generating appliances in your home during the summer season. These appliances include ovens, stoves, dishwashers and even clothes dryer. When you use any of these appliances often, the indoor temperature in the home will rise quickly too.
Keep Medication Handy
For those suffering from lung diseases, keep your medications handy at all times. Take preemptive measures to reduce the likelihood of an attack if necessary.