Summer is officially here, which means your asthma may flare-up. Asthma must be controlled year-round, especially during the summer. When your asthma gets out of control, you end up in the emergency room, which is not where you want to spend your summer.
If you, your child, or a family member has asthma, you know how hard it is to keep it under control. However, if you plan and keep your handheld portable nebulizer with you, summer is much easier.
Below are a few ways summer affects asthma. It’s important to know how the weather affects symptoms and treatment so you can stay ahead of the curve. By being proactive, asthma is better controlled and you will have a much more comfortable, enjoyable summer.
Who doesn’t love playing outside? However, humid weather, pollution, and pollen are common asthma triggers. Yet, that doesn’t mean you should limit your time or your kids’ time outside. There are steps you can take to make sure everyone is safe.
The first thing to do is check the air quality before you go outside. If the pollution levels are high, try to find something else to do, preferably an indoor activity. Poor air quality irritates the lungs and triggers asthma attacks. If you absolutely need to go outside, exercise earlier in the morning and limit your time outdoors. Furthermore, make sure you have your portable silent nebulizer with you just in case your asthma does flare-up.
After checking the air quality, check the forecast for the day. Sudden weather changes and hot weather can trigger asthma symptoms. The strong winds that come with these changes stir up mold and spread pollen. For those who have mold, grass, or tree pollen allergies, this is a recipe for disaster. If the weather is bad and popup storms are expected, find an indoor activity and play outside another day.
Just because you have asthma doesn’t mean you can’t participate in sports or other physical activity. The thing is, you need to find the right sport or activity while keeping your asthma in control. For example, sports that have periods of downtime, such as baseball, are a good option for those with asthma. Also, look for sports that have slow warm-up times.
Swimming is another good choice for those with asthma but who still want to participate in sports. The moist air helps keep asthma symptoms away; however, if the pool area isn’t well-ventilated the smell of chlorine can be a trigger. Take your kid and visit the pool a few times before committing to the sport to see how asthma acts. Remember to bring the handheld portable nebulizer in case asthma symptoms do flare-up. That way, you have a remedy close at hand and can keep the symptoms under control.
The best way to determine what sport is best for you or your child is to talk to a doctor. Ask your doctor about the medication regimen and if it has to change because of sports. For example, some people need to take albuterol before playing their sport. On the other hand, a doctor may add a daily, preventative treatment to your regimen.
After talking to your doctor, talk to the coaches, assistants, and anyone else who assists with sporting activities. Make a copy of the asthma action plan and give a copy to each person. This way, if anyone sees the symptoms starting to appear, they can stay ahead of the asthma attack and give the appropriate treatment.
Summertime also brings lots of traveling and being far away from home. If you are traveling constantly, you may forget to pack your nebulizer or inhaler. This can be a disaster when you are far away from home an asthma attack happens.
The best way to travel smart is to pack a portable silent nebulizer in the car and an extra one in the suitcase. By having a couple of nebulizers, you are always prepared in case the unexpected happens.
Another option is to make an asthma travel pack. This is similar to a first aid kit, except it is specifically for asthma and your asthma symptoms. Inside the kit, put instructions, the asthma action plan, and any emergency numbers. The kit should be small enough to fit in your glove compartment, purse, or backpack.
Fires and Fireworks
There is nothing better than sitting around a bonfire and watching the sun go down. However, smoke is an asthma trigger and wood-burning smoke is not good for anyone to inhale, whether you have asthma or not. If you do go to a bonfire, sit upwind so the smoke doesn’t blow in your face. This means you may have to move a few times throughout the night as the wind shifts. When it comes to s’mores, bring premade s’mores so you can still enjoy the summer treat but without sticking your head near the fire.
Fireworks are another summertime favorite activity. Yet, the smoke and particles can aggravate asthma. Try to stay away from the fireworks and watch them from far away. Again, stay upwind from the smoke. If it gets to be too much, go inside and close the windows and doors. You can still enjoy the fireworks as long as you take certain precautions.
Summer and Asthma
You don’t have to quit all of your summer activities just because of your asthma, or your child’s asthma. With the proper precautions, you can stay safe and still have fun. Check the weather before you go and pack an asthma kit. Inside the kit, pack a handheld portable nebulizer so you always have one on hand.