Many medical conditions can be worsened in the summer due to the warmer temperatures and humidity.
One of these conditions is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. The breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time and can limit usual activities such as walking and sleep.
The condition can cause breathlessness, a persistent phlegmy cough and chest infections. Without treatment, the symptoms usually get progressively worse. There may also be periods when they get suddenly worse, known as a flare-up or an exacerbation.
These are some of our tips for managing for COPD in summer.
- Avoid the heat and sun if you can
When you get too hot, you require more oxygen to bring your temperature down which can lead to breathlessness and a COPD flare-up. The summer days are hottest around the early afternoon, so if you do have to go out, stick to the morning or later in the day. You can also protect yourself further by staying in the shade and using fans or air conditioning when indoors.
- Stay up to date with the weather forecast
By keeping your eye on the weather forecast, you can monitor the temperature, pollen levels and humidity levels. This way you can schedule your day around the best time to avoid flare-ups.
- Stay hydrated
Our bodies depend on water to keep cool and when we sweat, we lose this coolant. Make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid overheating and avoid dehydrating drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol.
- Dress for the heat
Another way of keeping your body temperature cool is to dress appropriately for the hot weather. Materials like cotton and linen are light and breathable and will help to keep you cool.
- Exercise sensibly
Although some exercise can have benefits for those with lung conditions like COPD, care must be taken to ensure that you don’t overheat. This includes any strenuous activity such as housework and gardening and is best saved for the morning or evening when temperatures are lower.
Many people with COPD take treatments such as short-acting bronchodilator inhalers, however there is a high unmet need in people living with COPD who have eosinophilic inflammation and those at risk of flare-ups. To meet this need, MAC Clinical research are investigating a new potential treatment, which is being developed as an add-on maintenance treatment for the prevention of these flare-ups in people with moderate to severe COPD.
If you or someone you know are aged 40-85 and have COPD, we would love to hear from you. You could be eligible for a clinical trial that may further the development of future treatment options.
If eligible you will receive £850 for your time and commitment, additionally, reasonable travel expenses will be paid. The trial will run at our clinics in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, South Yorkshire, and Teesside. For more information, please get in touch via our website.