When it’s time for the final school bell of the year to ring in Charleston, South Carolina, your attention turns to vacations and long days outside. Asthma sufferers, however, have a little more to think about. For them, warm weather requires preparing for more than just fun in the sun. Summer brings new threats if you, your children, or other family members have respiratory conditions like asthma. Fortunately, you can get help in battling against these hazards.
In Charleston, summer is almost synonymous with humidity. For those with asthma, hot, humid conditions are more than uncomfortable. While relative humidity itself doesn’t cause an asthma attack, the muggy air harbors fungi and other biological growths as well as a higher level of dust mites, all irritants that can aggravate your airways.
So what can you do to make the sticky summer days more bearable? The most important step is to take medications as prescribed. Well-controlled asthma is less susceptible to impurities that thrive in the humidity.
Another tip is to spend more time indoors. Some people with asthma still struggle even when they’re inside. If you notice breathing difficulties in the house, you may have an issue with poor air quality. You can try different solutions to remedy this. One option is a whole-house dehumidifier that sits inside your HVAC unit and helps control the moisture level in the air. Besides making it easier to breathe, these devices can help you save on your utility bills by making the home feel cooler at a higher thermostat setting.
High Pollen Count
While you may think of spring as allergy season, ragweed and grass pollens really crank up in the later part of the summer. For many adults and children with asthma, these irritants are likely to bring on an attack.
To avoid an asthma emergency, watch your local news for the pollen indicator and stay inside as much as you can when the levels are highest, usually in the afternoons. Keep the windows in your home closed and car windows up while traveling. If you still don’t find relief even by staying inside, consider solutions like air purifiers and premium air filters to reduce the impurities.
Summer brings longer days with more sunlight and more stagnant air. Those factors result in higher levels of air pollution during the warmest part of the year. Ozone, among other gases, is especially irritating to the lungs and can compromise the function of those organs in people with asthma. While most people think of pollution as a problem that hangs in the sky over big cities, you may be surprised to learn that, no matter where you live, the air inside your house can be a threat as well.
You spend many hours inside your home, eating, sleeping, and enjoying time with your family, so it’s important to keep pollutants to a minimum. Avoid using cleaners with ozone in them, as they only contribute to the problem. Also, consider installing sensors in your home to detect high levels of radon and carbon monoxide. Switch to higher MERV filters in your HVAC to capture a greater percentage of the irritants in the air inside your home. Be sure to not exceed the recommended MERV-rated filter for your HVAC system.
For many people, especially children, summer means no school and lots of time in the water. If your kids’ summer plans include swimming and splashing in a chlorinated pool, you should know that this could spell trouble for their asthma. Many private and public pools have chlorine levels as high as 2.0 parts per million which can irritate the lungs, even if you don’t have asthma.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up your time in the water completely. Indoor pools are a good option as they are less likely to use chlorine. If you don’t have a non-chlorinated option available, look for a pool with a chlorine level of 0.5 parts per million or lower. Most counties or municipalities can evaluate a water sample for you so you can make an informed decision.
Summer brings a lot of worries if you are the parent of a child with asthma, or if you have the condition yourself. If you’d like the help of a professional in evaluating ways to battle summer asthma attacks, contact the team at AC Heating and Air Conditioning Services at (843) 277-9928.
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