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Humidity and Asthma (again!)

Here in South Africa, we are having what feels like one of the hottest months I have ever known. On the East Coast, where I live, we have hot, humid, wet summers. Life is generally quite challenging in February. Temperature can soar into the mid 30°C and there is seldom a respite except for an hour at around 4am.
This year, in particular, I am finding the humidity, quite unbearable. At this moment it is 8.30pm. My weather app tells me that the temperature has cooled down to 25°C, which should be fairly comfortable, but the humidity is at 90%!!
Like so many asthmatics, humidity seems to one of my triggers. In fact, every time I have had to be on oxygen, it's been in the heat of summer, with high humidity, and flare ups happen very quickly, often when going out of an air conditioned building into the stifling outdoor heat.
Thankfully I have my pharmacy in my medicine cabinet at home (I am sure that most of you can relate), so dosed myself up with a couple of puffs of my rescue inhaler to ease my breathing enough to use my evening controller, an antihistamine for my grass allergy (I can almost hear it growing in my garden at this time of year). The mucus that was quickly filling my respiratory system, making me cough and feel nauseous, was put to bed with a mucolytic cough mixture and for good measure, an anti nausea tab.
I have been lying propped up in bed for about 20 minutes now, and my breathing has eased, my chest is not as tight, but still a little sore, and the nausea has subsided somewhat.
I would be interested to hear how many of you live on the coast or areas of high humidity, and your symptoms and strategies for relieving a humidity flare-up.

  1. Hi - Welcome and thanks for posting in our FORUMS section on our site. We truly appreciate the topic brought up in your post and certainly hope others quickly join in. I for one do not live in a very humid state here in the US but understand completely as I grew up on the East Coast with horrible heat and humidity in the summer months and intense cold in the winter months. Change in weather and the intensity of it can really throw people into extended flares with an ominous outlook on their health. This trigger is a well-talked about topic here on Asthma.net.


    I wanted to stop by and offer a few links to articles that you could read and interact with. This article, https://asthma.net/living/humidity-trigger , delves deep into the source of and reactions to humidity. This article, https://asthma.net/living/help-summer-allergies , explains the culprits of and how to help in terms of allergies, humidity, and triggers. Also I wanted to drop this link, https://asthma.net/triggers/outdoor-air , discussing allergens, pollution and weather. I hope they offer some solace to you as you struggle through the heat and humidity.


    As you declare, it can be terribly difficult and challenging to manage during the hottest time of the year. I certainly hope that the hot season there in South Africa eases soon enough and you can get back to more enjoyable weather. II will circle back around to see if others jump on and offer up their experience when heat and humidity hit.


    Thoughtfully, Rebecca (team member)

    1. Hi. I'm sorry your weather is so oppressive right now. I'm from the Eastern US and know very well the misery of gross, soupy humid summer days. Rebecca has given you a few great resources. I'm curious to know if you have access to a dehumidifier ... using one of them would at least keep the atmosphere in your home comfortable so that you have fewer symptoms. It is always impressive for me to see just how much moisture it removes from the air.

      It sounds like you're doing an excellent job taking care of yourself, all things considered. It's tedious to take so many medications, but being able to sleep decently and keep your symptoms to a minimum is a decent trade. Thank you for starting this topic. I hope it dries out soon! -Melissa, asthma.net team

      1. Humidity is major factor with me also. I have to stay in air-conditioned rooms and or have a number of fans going to keep it cool and the air circulating. In fact, even in winter I have a small fan going at night just to keep the air circulating, and I live in Michigan, USA. Going from and air-conditioned place to outside is like having my breath sucked out of me. I have used a nebulizer during the worst of it, and I sleep propped up also. I am happy to say after 3 attacks sending me to the ER and a couple days in the hospital I now have it under control most of the time. And when I have a flare up, I can bring out the nebulizer and use my rescue more often.

        1. Hi Ginny, and thanks for joining in the conversation here. We appreciate you sharing your own personal experience managing this disease (asthma) with the community. You are definitely not alone as many of our community members have expressed similar sentiments when it comes to humidity, air conditioning, and asthma.
          At this point, it does sound like you have much better control over your breathing and the way you handle the triggers. Keep up the good work!
          Leon L (author/moderator asthma.net)

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