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COPD and Summer Heat

Becoming overheated can put people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at risk for serious illness. Stay cool this summer with the following tips:

  • Watch weather reports and plan outings for the coolest days. On hot days, avoid the city, where the temperature is hotter. If you live in the city, stay in a cool place indoors.

  • Check the air quality index (AQI) for daily ozone and particle pollution conditions in your area. Watch your local weather report and read the newspaper for AQI information, or go to the AIRNow website.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty or active. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you. Ask your health care provider how much you should drink when it’s hot.

  • Use air conditioning. If you don’t have it at home, spend time at air-conditioned locations. Options include senior centers, libraries, or malls.

  • Have a friend check on you if you live or spend time alone.

  • Wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothing.

  • Take a cool shower or bath. 

  • Eat small meals, rather than large meals, which may cause discomfort in hot weather.

  • Exercise indoors at a gym, pulmonary rehabilitation center, a mall, or a large store.

  • Call for medical help for new or worsening symptoms or if your breathing worsens.