In England, there are about 2000 heat related deaths every year as a result of dehydration, overheating, and heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Overheating can exacerbate symptoms of heart conditions or conditions that cause breathing issues. Does this include asthma?
Does hot weather affect asthma?
Asthma sufferers might have noticed that their symptoms have flared up recently, with temperatures soaring as high as 35C in areas in the UK this week.
Sudden changes in temperature, hot weather, cold weather, and thunderstorms all trigger asthma symptoms for some people.
The most common symptoms of asthma are wheezing, breathlessness, a thigh chest, and coughing.
While many things can cause these symptoms, you will know it’s asthma if they happen often and keep coming back, are worse at night and early in the morning, and happen as a result of a typical asthma trigger.
For example, an allergy could cause your wheezing or exercise could cause you to cough.
The causes of this aren’t clear but asthma.org explains two possible reasons.
READ MORE- Pollen count: Three steps to reduce your risk of an asthma attack
One way to explain worsened asthma symptoms could be the fact that breathing in hot air can cause the airways to narrow.
This leads to coughing and shortness of breath, symptoms asthma sufferers already have to deal with without a heatwave.
Another reason why asthma symptoms could be worse during a heatwave is down to the season.
The heatwave has occurred at a time when higher levels of pollutants and pollen are in the air, both triggers for asthma.
How to keep symptoms at bay
If your symptoms have worsened during the heatwave, make sure you keep taking your preventer inhaler.
The preventer inhaler will prevent inflammation and swelling in your airways, stopping symptoms coming on in the first place.
Use it every day as prescribed, even if you don’t have symptoms on that particular day.
You must also carry your reliever inhaler around wherever you go to treat the problem if symptoms do come on.
Keep your inhalers in a cool place out of direct sunlight to ensure they work properly and store it in a cool bag when you are out of the house.
This inhaler transports the medicine straight into your lungs to quickly relax the muscles around your airways.
The airways will then open more widely within a few minutes, making it easier to breathe.
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Asthma action plan
Asthma.org recommends using an asthma action plan– planned steps to follow every day and what to do if you have an attack.
You fill the plan in with your GP or asthma nurse and bring it to your appointments.
If your GP or asthma nurse hasn’t mentioned an asthma action plan, you should ask them to help you devise one.
Print asthma.org’s template found online here. and ask them to help you fill it in.
The doctor can them revise your plan at every appointment to make sure you are doing the right things.
Pin it up somewhere in your house where you will see it every day, such as your fridge or noticeboard.
You should also save a copy on your phone, and share it with your friends, family, co-workers, and personal trainer or fitness coach. This will ensure everyone close to you knows what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Purchase house plants to combat dry and hot air that is making symptoms worse.
House plants aren’t only really trendy, they consume hot air from the room and release excess evaporated water.
This cools down the plant itself and the surrounding environment, while moistening the air.
Try the Boston Fern, Spider Plant, or Mother-in-law’s tongue and note down how having plants in your home impacts your asthma symptoms to see if it makes a difference.
High pollution outdoors is made worse by hot weather, with pollution molecules sticking to pollen grains and making their way into your airways.
Download a weather app to get weather and pollen alert, and take special care to prepare for the day ahead.
On these days, follow your usual steps and avoid doing outside if possible.
Exercise will also make symptoms worse in this situation, so try not to do a difficult workout when the pollen count is high.
If you have hay fever, you will find that when your hay fever is bad so is your asthma.
To avoid this, take hay fever medicines to reduce the allergic reaction that is making your asthma worse.
Air-Purifying air con
If your asthma symptoms consistently flare up and cause attacks during hot weather, it could be time to invest in an air-purifying air con system.
BOXT has introduced the UK’s first next-day domestic air conditioning installation service, meaning you could have the system installed, delivered and fit the very next day after ordering it.
The system cools and purifies hot air, catching airborne dust particles and neutralising bacteria, fungi and microbes– all things that aren’t ideal for asthmatics.
Andy Kerr, co-founder of smart home installation company BOXT.co.uk said: “While it’s impossible to control the weather outside your door, it is now simpler than ever to regulate the temperature inside your home.”
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