While individuals suffering from respiratory illnesses such as asthma or COPD, or other
conditions such as high blood pressure need to be particularly careful during the
summer months, the heat and humidity can also have an impact on those who have not
been diagnosed with any particular conditions. Most of us have experienced some level
of breathing difficulty on particularly hot and humid days. Many people describe the air
as feeling thick and heavy. In addition to the humidity, high levels of air pollution and
smog can cause or worsen breathing problems in adults and children.
To help you cope with breathing difficulties or to help you avoid them all together, here
are a few things you can do:
Pay Attention to Weather Advisories
During the warmer months, it’s best to pay attention to any air quality, heat or
Humidex® advisories. These reports will help you decide how much time to spend
outside and the types of activities that you should engage in.
Avoid Strenuous Activity
If your area is under an extreme heat alert or if you are particularly sensitive to
humidity, take steps to avoid unduly strenuous, outdoor activity such as running, playing
sports or doing chores. If avoiding such activities is not possible, reduce the duration.
Stop and Rest
If you do end up out in the heat and begin to experience shortness of breath or that
heavy feeling that many people associate with humid air, take a moment to stop what
you’re doing and rest. Take this as an opportunity to have a cool beverage and a snack
at home or in a coffee shop or restaurant, if you happen to be out and about.
Maintain Good Hydration
Remaining hydrated is essential for all of the body’s organs and that most certainly
includes your lungs. So be sure to drink plenty of water. If you don’t like the taste of
water, there are many options for lightly flavoured mix-ins.
The best way to take charge of breathing issues on hot and humid days is to stay
indoors, with doors and windows closed. Draw the blinds and curtains as well, because
taking this step can block out quite a bit of heat. Most importantly, you’ll need to have a
good, reliable air conditioner to help regulate your body temperature and keep your