As we leave the winter season, it’s no secret that cold, dry air can wreak havoc on the lungs of patients with COPD. However, hot, humid air can often present problems as well. Now that the temperature is warming up, read on for tips on how to handle COPD as the weather gets hotter.
Check the Weather, Pollen, and Pollution Forecasts
Many weather websites allow you to customize email alerts. You can set it up so that you receive an email before an impending heatwave, and you can do the same for days with high pollen and pollution levels. All three of these factors can increase your risk of COPD flare-ups, so it’s good to know when you should be cautious.
Plan Your Day Around the Forecast
When a heatwave blasts through town, consider planning your day around the hourly forecast to avoid getting caught outside in the hottest temperatures. These usually fall from 11 am to 3 pm, so plan to go out in the morning and the evening. If you do need to go outside, try to walk in the shade and stay off crowded streets. There’s no need to rush—take your time to prevent adding stress to your symptoms.
Bring Some Gear
If you need to be out in the sun for extended periods, make sure you have a few accessories to help you beat the heat. Loose, cool clothing can prevent you from overheating, while a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can reduce the temperature on your face. A handheld fan can also go a long way if you start feeling symptoms set in.
There are a few other affordable accessories that can help you improve your breathing at home, but the two most important pieces of the puzzle are your oxygen concentrator and any medications you take—don’t leave home without them!
Now that you know how to handle COPD as the weather gets hotter, always be prepared for a flare-up and have your oxygen concentrator on hand.