Summer Asthma: Asthma Symptoms and Extreme Weather

Extreme Weather Can Exacerbate Asthma Symptoms

Extreme Weather Asthma
Extreme Weather Asthma. Credit: Ethan Miller Asthma

Is extreme heat or other extreme weather making your summer asthma symptoms worse? It is not really known why extreme heat or other extreme weather worsens your summer asthma, but extreme weather may lead to asthma symptoms such as:

Extreme heat and summer asthma attacks may be linked for a number of other reasons:

  • - Some studies have shown that thunderstorms may increase emergency department visits for asthma by more than 15%. While this may seem odd to some, the researches felt that higher winds that occur during a big storm increase fungal spores in the air.
  • Humidity- When there is extreme heat, there is also often extreme humidity. The humid conditions provide the perfect environment for dust mites and molds to thrive.
  • Mold- When you have the extreme weather combination of heat and humidity, you have the perfect conditions for mold growth.
  • Ozone- A combination of extreme heat, sunlight, and air pollution can increase ozone levels, a known asthma trigger. "During the summer when ozone levels rise, the number of people with asthma-related symptoms admitted to hospitals and emergency rooms increases," according to an EPA press release.
  • Pollen- You may be more likely to open house and car windows that increase your exposure to pollens. You will be better off to avoid summer asthma by keeping windows and doors closed and using air conditioning.

What Can I Do to Deal With Summer Asthma In The Extreme Heat and Other Extreme Weather?

There are certain ways that you can adjust or modify your risk of asthma exacerbation during extreme weather conditions.

Please keep in mind that you should feel free to discuss any potential asthma triggers and avoidance with your physician.

  • Stay Indoors- While exercise is important and many of us love to get outdoors, extreme heat and other extreme weather can lead to exacerbations. If you need to go outside, avoid the hottest parts of the day. Make sure to avoid smokers and stay far away from campfires and smoky barbecues.
  • Check Your Air Quality- According to the EPA, "the Air Quality Index uses a color-coded system to display whether the five major air pollutants exceed air quality standards for the day. When the Air Quality Index reports unhealthy levels, people, particularly asthmatics and others with respiratory ailments, should limit strenuous outdoor activities." You can check out your local air quality by watching your local news or going to EPA’s website.
  • Shower- Showering after coming back inside will reduce allergen and other trigger exposures that you bring back into your home. Additionally, you can decrease home allergen exposure by leaving your clothes in your laundry room and brushing off your shoes.
  • Always Carry Your Rescue Inhaler- You never know when you may have a problem or what sort of trigger you may encounter as a result of extreme heat or other extreme weather.
  • Follow Your Action Plan- Your asthma action plan allows you to determine what actions need to be taken if extreme weather worsens your asthma symptoms.

    Sources:

    American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Accessed July 23, 2011. Managing asthma this summer.

    Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed July 23, 2011. Take action this summer to reduce exposure to asthma triggers.

    Continue Reading