The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Experiencing the Magic of Amusement Parks
“Congratulations! You’ve just received cellular therapy from the Lung Institute. Where are you going to go?”
“I’m going to Disney World!”
Summer is a chance to spend hours outside with your children and grandchildren, but unfortunately for the millions of people suffering from chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary fibrosis, getting back outside can prove exceedingly challenging and, at times, downright impossible. Learning how to manage the side effects of these debilitating conditions can not only help you breathe easier, but could also mean the difference between a day at a theme park instead of a day cooped up in your home.
At amusement parks like Cedar Point, Walt Disney World or Universal Studios, there is something for everyone. Maybe you go for the high-speed roller coasters, or maybe the funnel cakes and turkey legs are your guilty pleasures. Either way, a day out at a theme park should be a fun experience filled with laughs and photographs. And no matter what condition you are in, with a little planning, you can have a great time. Here are three tips for enjoying theme parks despite your lung disease.
Three Tips for Enjoying Theme Parks
–Tip #1: Stay Hydrated. Always drink water and stay hydrated. A lot of theme parks upcharge for a water bottle, so consider bringing a refillable one from home. If you are concerned about filtration, bring a portable Brita water bottle. Another hydration tip: Every concession stand at a theme park is required to give you a cup of water free of charge, so refill often and drink up!
Why It Matters: By increasing your water and juice consumption, and minimizing your coffee, tea, soda and alcohol consumption, you can reduce the chances of becoming dehydrated. Children and individuals over 65 years of age are at a higher risk of dehydration.
Infections such as pneumonia can increase the need for fluids due to fevers and the overproduction of mucus. Lung conditions like COPD are worsened by dehydration. In fact, by staying hydrated, sufferers can actually minimize their symptoms, as additional water will reduce the viscosity of their mucus.
–Tip #2: Check the Weather. Plan your theme park days on the cooler summer days. Why spend eight hours out in 90-degree weather when you could go on a 70-degree day? With a little planning ahead and a ten-day weather forecast, you can limit the effects of the heat simply by spending your time outdoors when it is cooler.
Why It Matters: Getting overheated can cause COPD flare-ups. During the sultry months, symptoms that are normally well under control might be worsened by hot summer temperatures. People with COPD usually experience chronic coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, excessive mucus and wheezing. COPD isn’t curable yet, but symptoms can be managed and flare-ups minimized. COPD sufferers should be aware of what can trigger heat-related flare-ups.
–Tip #3: Remember Air Quality. Check the air quality index (AQI) for daily ozone and particle pollution conditions in your area. You can also check your local weather report or newspaper for AQI information.
Why It Matters: For people with COPD, and really any form of lung disease, ozone and pollution can worsen coughing and wheezing, and contribute to shortness of breath. In fact, air pollution can even cause people to need a doctor’s visit or trip to the hospital.
Ozone reacts chemically with the body’s tissues. When the ozone is at higher levels, like during the summer, it irritates and inflames the respiratory system. Breathing in ozone can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, an increased risk for asthma attacks or exacerbations, hospitalization and even premature death.
With these three simple tips, you can maximize the fun and minimize the side effects of a day at a theme park. Lung disease shouldn’t stop you from having fun, and with a little preparation and medical advancements like cellular therapy, you can gain freedom from the confines of lung disease. To learn whether cellular therapy could help you get back to the life you want, contact the Lung Institute at (800) 729-3065.