Coping With Summer Heat When You Have A Lung Condition
Many of us have been anxiously awaiting the hot weather typical of July and August. However, if you suffer from chronic lung disease, you may be worried about the heat. During the summer months, heat and humidity can lead to further difficulty for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD which is emphysema or chronic bronchitis), severe asthma, or other lung conditions.
The PEI Lung Association cautions Islanders that excessive heat causes additional stress to the heart and lungs. With the hottest days of summer upon us, the Lung Association has a few pointers to improve the quality of those with COPD and other lung conditions.
“The most effective way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area”, suggests Vicki Bryanton, Executive Director of the PEI Lung Association. “If you don’t have an air conditioner, consider heading to a shopping mall or public library for a few hours.”
If on hot days, you must be outdoors, here are a few things to keep in mind:
* Whenever possible, try and schedule activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening.
* Rest frequently in a shaded area. Intermittent resting will give your body’s thermostat a chance to recover.
* Pace yourself. If you are not used to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. Do not rush.
* Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking fluids keeps mucus thin, making it easier to clear your lungs and airways. Clear airways are less prone to infection. If you notice a swelling of your hands or feet, contact your physician right away.
* Choose lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will provide shade and keep the head cool.
If your COPD or lung condition is severe, a buddy system is a good idea during periods of extreme heat. When working in the heat, it is a good plan to have someone occasionally monitoring your condition. Heat-induced illness can cause confusion or a loss of consciousness. Have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know anyone in this higher-risk group, check on them at least twice a day.
Hopefully, by keeping all these tips in mind, you will be able to enjoy a cooler, healthier summer.
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