A man looks between two scenes: one cool and quiet nature, one hot and dusty urban factory

Catching My Breath

Global temperatures seem to be on the rise. We are seeing more frequent and extreme weather, and that could be a concern for us all. As I am writing this, today in London, the temperature will reach 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius). The heat has become unbearable. It’s unbearable for all, but for those with chronic conditions, life can be extremely miserable. For me, for instance, the heat makes it harder to manage my asthma. I feel like it is a struggle to get air into my lungs today. The heat feels as if it is literally engulfing you. The humidity is a killer! The weather forecasts are predicting 95*F- 104*F (35*c-40*C) for the coming week. If that actually happens, I think I might have to take the day off work. At least the afternoon anyway.

According to one news article, "Dr. Andy Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma UK and a practicing GP, says 'A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous for the 5.4 million people in the UK with asthma, triggering deadly asthma attacks.” 1

How I try to manage my asthma in this heat

So, what can we do to protect ourselves? Well, the best thing would be to stay behind closed doors with the curtains closed, but some of us may be unable to do this. In this weather, I try to reduce my movements. The more you move, the hotter you get, so I will make a concerted effort to move less. I will also keep myself well hydrated. I have bought six 1-liter bottles of water that I keep in the refrigerator, and I make sure I keep one out beside my nightstand every night.

Taking a nice cold shower before bed is amazing. I find it really cooling, and you feel so relaxed afterward. This also ensures that no pollen or allergens can get onto my bed sheets which all help to protect my lungs. My Dyson fan is one of the best little things I have ever bought! It keeps the room fairly cool and doesn't make much noise at all.

Keeping an eye on my peak flow readings

I have had a few scary experiences as a teenager in the weather like we are experiencing now, and when I reflect back I believe it is because I was too slow in taking the correct steps in preventing my asthma attacks. If I had kept track of my peak flow readings as a youngster, I may have been able to avert going into the hospital. I was foolish and, like most teenagers, thought I was invincible. Oh, how wrong I was! Many of my attacks used to occur due to a general lack of care and management. So, now whenever my peak flow reading fails to reach a certain level, I make sure I up my meds to a suitable dosage. Obviously, it goes without saying that one must work with their primary care provider, as I did, if they want to adjust their meds. Now it is a case of just keeping my head down, keeping disciplined with my medications, and trying not to move too much.

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