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Summer is a wonderful time for vacations, family gatherings and activities with friends. But for patients with COPD, summer can be the most difficult time of the year. The heat and humidity can make it even harder to breathe, and the increased pollen in the air can trigger COPD flare ups and other symptoms.
So, if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), what do you do to prepare for the summer and make sure that you can still enjoy yourself during these few months?
Everything Is Cooler in the Shade
High temperatures can sometimes cause even the healthiest person to have difficulty breathing. Imagine how much more difficulty a person with COPD may have in the high heat of summer. When the body is exposed to high temperatures, your body uses your breath to help maintain a regular internal temperature. However, if you are having shortness of breath, it could cause you to overheat, and force your body to work even harder.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD, it’s important to make sure that wherever your summer activities take you, there is always a shady place to sit and rest throughout your day. Ideally, an air conditioned building will be nearby, such as a common area at a recreational park. But just a shady tree will help to reduce your body temperature so you can catch your breath.
Plan Indoor Activities When You Can
Whether you have been diagnosed with COPD or not, the summer months are hot. People are usually more apt to spending time inside where it’s cool, so try to suggest indoor activities during the summer to help you stay healthy. Walking the mall or watching a movie is a great option for activities during the summer if you have COPD. You can also meet friends for lunch, have coffee or visit each other’s homes as alternatives to being in the heat.
Watch the Clock
If your activity does take you outside, be sure to watch the clock and avoid the hottest temperatures of the day. Typically, you want to avoid the times between 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. for outdoors, as this is the heat of the day. This may change depending on what location you are in, but those are typically the hottest hours of the day. If you are meeting friends for outdoor activities, you should try to plan for an early morning get-together or a sunset activity in order to keep your body temperature cool.
Staying hydrated during the summer months (and all the time) will help your body maintain an appropriate temperature, which will help your risk of a COPD flare-up. Keep a bottle of water with you, or several bottles of water in a cooler in your car if you know that you are going to be out for a while. Typically, you should drink a bottle of water every 2 hours, unless you are sweating heavily — then you should drink 1 every hour while you are sweating.
Contact Lung Health Institute today for more information or to schedule a free consultation at 855-882-1292.
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