Asthma & Summer: Why do symptoms increase?

Seasonal asthma is one of the most common ailments that people of all age groups suffer from. However, have you ever noticed that your asthma tends to be significantly worse in the summer compared to other seasons? Well, there is an excellent reason for that. As a matter of fact, there are various factors that come together in the summertime to make the symptoms of asthma worse.

Typical Symptoms of Asthma

Several symptoms can look like asthma, so getting a physician's evaluation is vital to confirm the diagnosis. The symptoms of asthma may include:

  • Sporadic cough
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

Keep in mind that if you do not have asthma right now, it does not necessarily mean you are immune to the disease. One can develop asthma during any period of life, even if they do not have any history concerning the disease.

Why Do the Symptoms Increase?

A prevailing factor is that asthma is naturally much more common in people who live in congested environments since they are exposed to a higher amount of pollutants than average. Consequently, the asthma mortality rate is higher for people living in such conditions.

So, one could say that the warm weather itself is one of the main factors behind the aggressive increase in symptoms. In essence, breathing in hot air can be responsible for your airways to narrow. The narrowing of the airways often leads to shortness of breath, and when you mix this with pollutants and allergens, it results in an increase in asthma symptoms.

Another reason is summer allergy-induced asthma. This type of seasonal asthma only occurs in the summer, and it can make spending time outdoors extremely hard. Allergies can be triggered by specific allergens that are predominantly prevalent in June, July, and August. Asthma symptoms can be at an all-time high in the following months because:

  • March - June: Tree pollen is very high.
  • May - Early June: Grass pollen is very high.
  • June: Outdoor mould spores are high.
  • August - Fall: Weed pollen is very high.

In addition to summer allergy-induced asthma, one can also suffer from environmental asthma triggers. Yes, warm weather and allergies can trigger your asthma, but did you know that other environmental factors like smoke and ozone can worsen your symptoms, too?

Smoke is a carrier of fine particulate matter that can get into your airways and have a massive impact on your asthma. Similarly, increased ozone levels due to the summer days getting longer could negatively affect a person's lungs and worsen asthma symptoms.

Can I Do Something About My Asthma Symptoms During the Summer Season?

There are a few things that you can do to reduce the effect of asthma symptoms in summer. So, if environmental factors play such a vital role in your asthma symptoms, then one of the best things you can do to minimise your symptoms is to be aware of your environment. This means you should try to limit your contact with nature when the rate of allergens is said to be aggressively high in your area. Experts have recommended trying and staying indoors. As a matter of fact, asthmatics function the best when the temperature is 20 to 21 degrees Celcius. Also, try to exercise indoors or late in the day if you wish to go outdoors. Moreover, it is common sense to stay away from pollens, particularly between the months of April and July.

One of the most notable medical observations made during the COVID-19 is that due to people wearing masks, there seemed to be fewer asthma-related emergencies. So, if you want to go out while the allergens are prevalent, wear a mask, and you will be fine.

Lastly, while the act is not limited to summertime, smoking can also cause a major nuisance in asthma symptoms. When smoking is mixed with factors like high temperatures, pollen, and pollution, it can result in an added strain on the human body which can cause severe asthma attacks.

Treatment for Summer Asthma Symptoms

One of the easiest ways to manage summer asthma symptoms is always to keep two inhalers with you. The primary inhaler – is also known as the maintenance inhaler, and the second inhaler is called the rescue inhaler. The main difference between these inhalers is that they contain different medicines.

It is essential not to use the rescue inhaler as an alternative to the maintenance inhaler since the overuse of the rescue inhaler can cause serious complications. However, if symptoms of shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness does not completely resolve with the help of a rescue inhaler or the symptoms reoccur soon after an inhaler treatment. Then, it is best to get medical attention.

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