The simple answer is, yes. Heat can be hard on your lungs. The humidity can become so thick that you can feel it and it becomes hard to breathe. The most important thing to know is that heat-related breathing problems can affect anyone, even healthy people. The people affected by it the most are people with preexisting lung conditions such as asthma and COPD. It's important to know the effects, especially if you fall into one of those categories. Make sure you know how to protect yourself in the coming summer months.
How does it affect your lungs?
- Hot air can irritate your airways and lead to spasms. It will cause you to feel short of breath with tightness in your chest. It is also possible for it to cause coughing or wheezing. If you have asthma, hot air can trigger these symptoms and make them worse.
- Breathing in humid air activates nerves in your lungs that narrow and tighten your airways.
- When the air is hot, your body works harder and uses more oxygen, making the lungs work harder as well. The lungs working harder will result in deep or rapid breathing.
- Because the environment becomes so hot, it can cause the air to become stagnant. This means that no pollutants or allergens in the air are moving, which can make breathing more difficult.
- If the air is hot and you are dehydrated, or have been sweating a lot, this can dry out your nasal passages, lungs, and bronchial tubes resulting in shortness of breath.
- Sunlight creates certain chemical reactions with pollutants in the air and that can cause an increase in ozone in the air. Because of the increase, it can result in difficult breathing, coughing, wheezing and irritation to the nose and throat.
- Hot air always has a higher level of water molecules present than in cold air. This results in lower oxygen levels in those molecules making it more difficult to breathe.
Now that you know just how higher temperatures affect your lungs, don’t forget to take precautions, especially if you suffer from a lung condition. If you have questions or are looking for a consultation, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d be happy to help.