Recently, our area has been experiencing extreme heat combined with high humidity, resulting in a dangerous heat index. People with asthma and other chronic breathing problems may find it harder to breathe when the heat index is high. High humidity can also increase the growth of mold, which can trigger asthma symptoms.
Signs of breathing problems include cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing. Tips for weathering the heat include …
- Always take daily medications as prescribed and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about what to do if you or your child is having breathing problems.
- Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible.
- Plan any necessary time outdoors for the morning or evening when it is cooler.
- If you must be outdoors, stay in the shade as much as you can, take regular breaks in a cool area and stay hydrated.
- Watch your child for signs of breathing problems. They may not know to tell you they are having problems.
- Check local weather reports regarding the heat index and air quality in your area.
- You can check the air quality in your area at airnow.gov.
For more information on keeping family members with asthma and other breathing problems safe this summer, contact your primary care provider.
Carmen Quintero, CPNP, is a pediatric nurse practitioner with the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology at Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System.