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Managing COPD in the Summer

With summer upon us, it is imperative that individuals suffering from emphysema andchronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) know how to manage their symptoms in hot and humid weather. An article from the Lung Institute provides helpful tips on dealing with potential hazards associated with the heat of the summer that can make normally enjoyable outdoor activities intolerable for those with COPD.

Higher temperatures require your body to go into overdrive to maintain a regular temperature. That is true for even the healthiest individuals. The harder your body works, the more oxygen it needs, which in turn makes breathing more difficult. The following recommendations can help COPD sufferers better tolerate summer’s heat and humidity:

Stay Indoors: By limiting time outdoors, the body is able to more easily maintain a temperature of 98.6, which helps regulate breathing and limits the potential to become short of breath. The Lung Institute also suggests that if you do not already own a portable air conditioning or air filtration system it may be beneficial to invest in one.

Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for regulating body temperature. It is suggested that you drink eight full glasses of water each day on average. It is also be a good idea to carry a thermos or water bottle to ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day.

Allergy Awareness: During summer, many plants and allergens exacerbate COPD, especially asthma. Be aware of which affect you and talk to your doctor about selecting allergy medications or inhalers that will best support your breathing in the summer heat.

Combat Humidity: Be aware of your location. Many areas are prone to excessive heat and humidity, making it even harder to breathe. Purchasing a small humidifier for your home and bedroom can drastically improve the ability to breathe.

Finally, remaining active is crucial to maintaining a healthy, positive lifestyle and may reduce shortness of breath. So if the summer months require you to stay indoors on days that are too hot or humid, find alternative ways to stay active.

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