The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Tips for Dealing with the Heat with COPD
The summer’s heat can present problems for those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung diseases. Heat can aggravate COPD symptoms, especially when it rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. High humidity levels can also increase the risk of a flare up. Being prepared for the heat is key to managing your COPD during the hot summer months.
Hot weather is tough for COPD-sufferers because when it’s hot the body has to work extra hard to cool down, which requires more oxygen. When you’re already having a hard time getting enough oxygen, overheating should be avoided. Avoid flare-ups this summer with these simple tips:
- Manage Humidity Indoors
Moisture and humidity levels should be around 40 percent in your home. You can purchase a hygrometer at a hardware store or online to monitor humidity levels. Buying a humidifier for your home and bedroom can also drastically improve the quality of the air that you breathe.
- Stay Indoors
Stay inside with the air-conditioner on really hot days. If you don’t have air conditioning inside your house, consider going to a movie or visiting the library to cool down. Many of those with COPD run errands early in the morning or later at night when the weather is cooler. Some people even choose to move to areas of the country with milder climates.
- Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated helps regulate body temperature. It also helps the body produce thinner mucus, which is easier to expel from lungs and airways.
- Check the Air Quality Report
Hotter weather combined with smog and other air pollutants make it twice as hard to breathe for those with COPD. Check both the weather and air quality levels on a daily basis to stay ahead of the game. You can check air quality daily on the Air Forecast website.
- Dress for the Heat
Clothes that are loose-fitting, cotton or wicking material will help keep your body cooler. Choose lighter colors to stay cooler.
- Eat Light Meals
It’s best to avoid hot foods or heavy meals when it’s hot outside. Smaller meals like cold fruits or vegetables, eaten throughout the day, are easier to digest and don’t require cooking in front of a hot oven.
- Stay in Touch
Constant contact with loved ones will help friends and family immediately know if something is wrong.
COPD in the summer can be serious if a person gets overheated. Being overheated, even for a short while, can cause severe COPD complications, even death. Managing symptoms and planning ahead are important to having a healthy and enjoyable summer.
Many who suffer from COPD have experienced an improved quality of life after receiving stem cell therapy. If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease like COPD, the Lung Institute might be able to help. Contact one of their patient coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy.