There is a common perception among many people that, asthma symptoms only exacerbate during the winter season. But as a matter of fact, the symptoms of asthma can show up during the summer season as well. Many patients rush into the Cardiac Emergency of the hospitals in Bangladesh during this hot and humid condition with breathlessness thinking that, they have a cardiac problem. But after an appropriate physical examination and ECG reading, the doctor at the emergency confirms that, he or she is suffering from Bronchial Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and not any cardiac diseases.
The patient and their attendants get surprised by the remark of the physician and don‘t want to believe as because, at the back of their minds, they firmly believe that, the symptoms of asthma don’t exacerbate during the summer season. The physicians then, explain them about the reason behind the sudden onset of breathlessness. Some of the patient party agrees, while the rest disagrees.
The symptoms of bronchial asthma show up during the summer season as well. People with mild asthma may discover that when the temperature rises along with the humidity levels, their asthma symptoms begin to act up. According to the asthma experts, the exacerbations of summer asthma are due to heat stress, which leads to various changes in the human airway passage and trigger asthma.
Again, increase level of humidity itself can trigger asthma as well and when the temperature rise along with humidity, it becomes a fertile breeding ground for allergens such as dust mites. Mold thrives in moist, warm, dark environments. During the summer season, we see an increase in mold. These allergens also worsen the impact of environmental pollutants, such as exhaust fumes and ozone.
For some, summer heat and humidity may be complicated by seasonal irritants such as smoke from fires.
So, the symptoms of asthma also exacerbate during the summer season. Studies suggest, the effects of hot air saw asthma symptoms occur within as little as four minutes of inhaling the hot and humid air.
Now, what should a patient do when his asthma symptoms worsen during the summer season
1. As soon as you experience cough, wheeze and breathlessness, try not to inhale hot air as much as possible. It’s a tough task to do for those who work in outdoors, but consider avoiding outdoor assignments
2. If you experience that you are allergic to a summer trigger, such as mold or grass pollen, consult with your physician immediately about getting tested and necessary measures. This will prevent an asthma exacerbation caused by an undiagnosed allergy.
3. Always keep an eye on the weather news and get an idea about the temperature, humidity and air quality index. If the conditions are not suitable, avoid outdoor works and if you are driving a car, always close the window.
4. Try to finish your important outdoor tasks as early as possible in the morning before the uncomfortable situation sets in.
5. Swimming is a recommended exercise for asthmatics, and in the summer it reduces your chances of becoming overheated. However, some people find that their summer asthma symptoms are triggered by the chlorine added to most pools for water safety. If chlorine triggers symptoms in you, find another activity or exercise program, such as an indoor fitness class.
6. Keep indoor humidity low. Even if you can’t control the weather, you can control your home environment. Set your indoor humidity to 50 percent or lower to cut down on dust mites, mold, and humidity-related allergens that grow in warm, moist environments.
Above all, for any problems, always consult with your physician.
Stay healthy, stay safe.