On World Asthma Day, observed annually on the first Tuesday in May, experts once again underscore how the summer heat can trigger and even aggravate asthma symptoms in certain individuals. Elucidating the same, Dr Sanggita Checker, consultant chest physician, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road said that hot temperatures might aggravate your symptoms, especially if you get dehydrated.

But why is that?

“Strong sunlight raises the quantity of ozone and other air pollutants in the air, causing breathing issues and triggering symptoms. Further, the humid, hot temperatures might exacerbate your respiratory problems. Grass and weeds increase pollen levels during the spring and summer months. If you have hay fever and a long-term lung ailment, you may discover that your lung condition symptoms worsen at this time,” she told indianexpress.com.

Adding, Varun Sheth, CEO and co-founder, Ketto India said that the hot and muggy weather during a heatwave “can further narrow the airways, making breathing more difficult.”


Asthma is divided into external and internal terms, said Dr Kuldeep Kumar Grover, head of critical care and pulmonology – CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon, adding that while external means getting “exposed to more and more air and environment pollutants, internal means exposure to house pollutions, or staying at home and developing episodes of asthma.”

Other causes can be hereditary, environmental, family history, genetics, along with lifestyle-related causes like obesity, already existing medical conditions, exposure to more outdoor pollution, etc, added Dr Grover.


Dr Grover elaborated that primary symptoms include chronic cough which does not subside despite medications like syrups or antibiotics. Other than that, grade 1 breathlessness (like when climbing stairs), which gradually expands to walking on plain surfaces, too. Chest tightness, night cough, wheezing, frequent awakening, profound weakness, anxiousness are some other symptoms, Dr Grover mentioned.

Treatment available for asthma patients

Your doctor may recommend drugs to help you manage your symptoms. Below are some examples, as shared by Dr Checker.

*Bronchodilators are medications that relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles allow the airways to move freely. They also facilitate mucus movement across the airways. These medications ease your symptoms as they occur and are used to treat both intermittent and chronic asthma.

*Anti-inflammatory medications diminish swelling and mucus production in the airways. They facilitate the passage of air into and out of your lungs. Your healthcare practitioner may prescribe them to you on a daily basis to treat or prevent your persistent asthma symptoms.

*Asthma biologic therapies: These are used for severe asthma; when symptoms persist despite adequate inhaler treatment. Asthma medications can be taken in a variety of ways. You can use a metered-dose inhaler, nebuliser, or another form of asthma inhaler to inhale the medications. Your doctor may prescribe oral drugs for you to take.

asthma Asthma triggers may change from person to person (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)


To stay protected, while avoiding exposure to extreme heat and humidity, staying hydrated, and keeping one’s rescue inhaler close at all times is paramount. “Be sure to stay on top of your asthma management plan and regularly check in with your healthcare provider. This will ensure that individuals with asthma can reduce their risk of experiencing asthma attacks during the hot summer months,” said Dr Ambarish Joshi, senior consultant, Pulmonology, Primus Super Speciality Hospital.

Dr Checker mentioned that one of the most effective ways to reduce asthma symptoms is to limit your exposure to allergens. “Dust, pollen, animal fur, or anything that causes your breathing issues should be checked. Check allergy predictions and make health-related plans ahead of time. Make sure to clean or replace your air filters on a regular basis to keep your home’s air pure. They can cause breathing issues and induce asthma symptoms at home. In addition to cleaning air filters, take further actions to reduce dust in your house. Wear a mask when cleaning to avoid breathing in the dust that is stirred up during the procedure,” Dr Checker said.

Asthma triggers vary for each individual. Here are some things you can do to prevent the most frequent triggers, said Dr Checker.

– Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
– When painting, doing construction work, or doing garden labour, use a mask.
– Get a flu vaccination.
– HEPA filters should be used in your Hoover, furnace and air conditioner.
– To prevent allergies, use allergy-proof mattresses and pillowcases.
– Try to stay away from pets.
– Control your stress levels to avoid panic attacks.
– Consult an expert to determine your allergies and learn how to prevent them.
– Continue to take your recommended maintenance medication.

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