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Managing COPD in the Summer

April21image004Summer can be an uncomfortable season for the millions of Americans suffering with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The symptoms — coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath — coupled with the season’s increased humidity can spoil summer plans and make living normally more difficult than usual.

However, there are ways COPD sufferers can manage their symptoms while still enjoying all the fun summer has to offer.

  • Be mindful of your time outdoors — Choose your outdoor time wisely by keeping an eye on weather reports and avoid going outside when the heat and humidity are at their peak. Other helpful tips include gauging the local air pollution — AirNow is a helpful resource — and running errands or going outdoors in the morning or evening, when temperatures are a little cooler.
  • Purchase a small dehumidifier — If you live in a particularly humid climate, just opening your front door to retrieve a package can let steamy air into your home. Investing in a small dehumidifier will make breathing easier during those hot summer months.
  • Don’t ignore seasonal allergy triggers — Allergies can worsen COPD, so it is important to know your triggers and how to avoid them. Your doctor can help you manage your allergies by suggesting lifestyle adjustments and prescribing medications.
  • Stay hydrated — Drinking water is especially important in the summer, when rising temperatures can quickly lead to dehydration. Be sure to drink eight full glasses of water each day and make sure to bring a water bottle or thermos whenever you leave home.
  • Dress appropriately — Sacrifice style for comfort, especially when it comes to choosing clothes that will help keep you cool. If you’re going outside, wear light, breathable, light-colored fabrics that won’t trap in heat.
  • Cool off — This can be as easy as taking a cold shower or bath, a quick dip in the pool or dousing yourself with a garden hose. If you must go outside in the hot weather, bring along ice packs and cooling towels.
  • Keep exercising — Low-impact exercise under a physician’s guidance is helpful toward improving respiratory health and managing COPD. And the hot weather is not an excuse to skip out on workouts. You can work out indoors, or simply walk in place or lift light weights while watching television.

Read the complete Dispatch Health story to learn more about managing COPD during the summer.