If you live in a humid climate like New York, the hot and humid climate may make you feel like you can’t catch your breath. But does humidity really impact your breathing, or does it just feel that way? When it is very hot and humid outside, your lungs must work harder to draw in enough oxygen. For people with asthma or COPD, this can be especially dangerous.
Protect Your Lungs When It’s Hot and Humid
Especially for people who have existing lung conditions, it’s important to stay in and out of the heat when it’s extremely hot and humid. Stay inside and stay cool. Choose a location that has clean air, preferably filtered air conditioning. Avoid being around anyone who smokes or uses diffusers, as those will further compromise your lungs. To stay safe at home:
- To help keep pollutants out of your home, you should consider closing your windows and doors.
- Monitor air quality in the city so that you can take advantage of cool nights with good air quality to open things up – and pay attention to humidity index.
- Pay extra attention to your body and breathing so that you can catch a flare up quickly.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid strenuous exercise.
- Keep your inhaler and other medications handy.
How Heat Aggravates COPD
If you have COPD, your body is always working very hard to breathe. It expends more energy to breathe than a typical person would have to expend. When it’s extremely hot and humid outside, your body also has to work very hard to stay cool. If you experience shortness of breath or increased coughing, try whatever treatments are in your protocol. If those do not work, you may need to see your physician right away.
There are many things that can contribute to difficulty breathing; but heat and humidity this time of year can impact your health. It’s critical that you seek an evaluation from an experienced pulmonologist and breathing specialist if you are unable to resolve your shortness of breath or breathing struggles.
Contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bowen as soon as possible. We can provide effective and long-term shortness of breath treatment.