How Heat & Humidity Affects Asthma

Jun 09, 2022



How Heat & Humidity Affects Asthma

When your asthma flares up, your airways may become swollen and tight, and inhaled airborne debris may make it harder to breathe. Certain types of weather may also cause your asthma to flare-up.

Hot weather and humidity changes can be a trigger.

How Do Heat And Humidity Aggravate Asthma?

The hotter the air, the more moisture it can hold. On a hot summer day, the moisture content in the air (humidity) can rise to uncomfortable levels. If you have asthma, inhaling air at humidity levels of 65% or higher can irritate your lungs and cause shortness of breath. Your chest may feel heavier or tighter, and your airflow may be restricted due to a humidity-induced attack.

You may also experience unusual coughing and wheezing during an episode. Here are a few more reasons why high humidity may be bad for asthma:

Makes it more difficult to breathe:

Inhaling air with too much moisture can activate sensory nerves in your already swollen airways, triggering a narrowing reflex. This can cause you to cough and wheeze.

Encourages mold growth:

When humidity exceeds 60%, airborne mold can grow more easily. Be aware of this potential asthma trigger around moist areas, like bathrooms.

Increases ozone levels:

Ozone concentrations in the air increase during hot, humid days when the air is stagnant. This gas is a known pollutant that can irritate your lungs and airways, causing your asthma to flare-up.

Dust mite “attack”:

Dust mites are microscopic pests that thrive in warm environments. They can set off an asthma attack when they are inhaled, even if they’re dead.

Other Summer Asthma Triggers to Avoid

#1: Polluted air:

Hot outdoor environments in the city can expose you to air pollution that may irritate your airways. Research shows that people with moderate to severe asthma are 40% more likely to have acute asthma episodes on hot summer days.

#2: Smoke:

Backyard BBQs are the perfect way to celebrate summer vacation, but smoke from the grill may irritate sensitive lungs.

#3: Swimming pool chlorine:

Spending time by the pool is a great way to beat the summer heat. Chlorine is commonly used for sanitizing swimming pools, and in high concentrations it can be irritating for individuals with asthma.

#4: Pollen:

Certain types of plants in your yard may produce excess pollen during the summer. A surplus of pollen in the air can inflame your airways and make outdoor living spaces uninviting.

#5: Poor ventilation:

Moist spaces with restricted air circulation encourages the accumulation of mold, which can trigger inflammatory responses in your airways when inhaled.

#6: Extreme temperature fluctuations:

Your respiratory system may not always adjust to a sharp increase in temperature. You may experience an asthma attack when transitioning between a cool, air-conditioned room and scorching outdoor summer heat.

#7: Windy weather:

Wind can stir up light irritants, like pollen and dust.

Tips to Manage Heat & Humidity Induced Asthma

Summer vacations bring warm weather, longer days, and sunshine. Heat and humidity shouldn't stop you or your loved ones from enjoying the summer, since there are ways to protect your airways.

In addition to proper medication prescribed by your regular physician, consider precautions to minimize asthma triggers:

  • Keep your indoors well-ventilated and dehumidify heavily moist areas like the bathroom
  • Try to minimize excessive time outdoors when it’s extremely hot or humid

For quick relief from any asthma flare-ups, visit our Woodbridge Walk-In Urgent Care in Irvine, , Fountain Valley Urgent Care, or Costa Mesa Urgent Care to receive proper allergy care and treatment.



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