Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Breathing in Hot Weather

Today is Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

I spent most of the day on Tuesday in my friend's air-conditioned apartment while he was at work.  In the late afternoon, we went out to eat and were seated outdoors.  It wasn't too bad where were were seated, because there was a cool breeze, but I did find walking difficult in the heat.  The grocery store we went to was air-conditioned and I felt a bit better there.  

It occurred to me to find out why it is so hard for me to breathe in hot weather.  This is what I found out. 

First of all, everybody is different, and apparently, you can get used to anything.  Each person's body handles heat a bit differently.   I know I handled heat better when I lived in Japan, which is just about as hot and humid is Florida.  Of course, I was younger then, too.  I did feel better in air-conditioning, but I must have a fairly small "comfort zone," or range of temperatures within which I am comfortable.  I get cold easily in air conditioning, but I can always put on a sweater.

There are apparently no definitive studies on breathing in hot or humid weather because each body handles conditions differently, but it is known that heat and humidity trigger asthma, and that is a condition I have.

One recent study found that breathing of hot, humid air triggered an immediate increase in airway resistance in patients with mild asthma, but caused little or no response in healthy subjects. Breathing hot, humid air also triggered consistent coughs in those with asthma.
Researchers still don't know why this happens, but one explanation is that there are more airborne allergens in humid weather, such as dust mites and molds. Research confirms that asthma flare-ups are linked with rainfall, high pressure, high and low temperature and lightning strikes, as well.  

Other than staying indoors in air-conditioned places, it is best to eat light meals when the weather is hot and muggy.  And use your inhaler before you go out.   :-/

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