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The heatwave this summer is expected to hit particularly hard—all thanks to the large increases in global warming. The weather and the heatwave can affect air quality and the ability to breathe. Thus if anyone is suffering from chronic respiratory illnesses like COPD or asthma, they can be particularly affected in this weather.
Here are a few pulmonologist-approved tips that can help you take care of your lungs during this heat:
Take care to avoid temperature changes:
While there is nothing you can do to change the weather, there are certain tips to regulate the temperature of the air you are inhaling. Keep the fluctuations in the temperature of inhaled air as minimal as you can. For instance, when going from the heated room to an air-conditioned one, cover your nose and mouth to help warm and humidify the air.
Avoid the triggers:
There can be other environmental triggers that can worsen your condition. These can be unavoidable pollutants like those in the air, or others like aerosol products, cleaning products, fumes, insecticides or mould and dust. Moreover, smoke can also be an irritant that can trigger lung symptoms. Thus if you are a smoker then take steps to quit, and if you are not then try to avoid second-hand smoke.
Indoor pollutants can be decreased by dusting and vacuuming regularly. Synthetic air fresheners and candles should also be avoided as they increase exposure to chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene. Better alternatives are aromatherapy diffusers and essential oils.
Exercising induces the heart rate and body temperature to rise, and the lungs work to exhale the air rapidly. This helps to keep the lungs in shape and they adapt better in temperature extremes. Regular aerobics provides good exercise for your body and your lungs. Moreover, it helps slow down aging, and the progression of the disease.
Take care to avoid infections:
Good hygiene practices like regular hand washing and getting regular flu shots can help prevent infections. People who are already suffering from chronic diseases like COPD are particularly susceptible to infections, hence, care should be taken by such patients.
Avoid the heat:
If you can, then avoid going out during the hottest times of the day—between 11 and 3 pm. You can try planning your day around cooler temperatures or in the evening. Dehydration and excessive heat will only make it difficult for you. Strong sunshine and heat can cause the level of ozone to rise in the air that can trigger symptoms and make breathing difficult.
If, however, it is unavoidable to go out during the day, then be sure to avoid the sun during long stretches. Wear sunglasses and have a cooling cloth with you. Be sure to keep hydrating yourself as well, as the body cools down by sweating. Hence the body is losing water in the heat.