Living well in Summer

Stay cool in the summer heat

It's important to stay safe in the sunshine this summer since hot temperatures can make breathing more difficult as your body tries to cool down. 15

If you can, avoid being outside during the hottest parts of the day (11am-3pm). If you do have to go out, try to plan ahead so that you’re outside during the coolest parts of the day 15

Whenever outdoors, try to stay out of the sun by sticking to shaded areas and wearing loose, long clothing and a hat 15

Avoid doing strenuous activity like housework and gardening when it is very hot. Do these chores in the morning or early evening and always remember to take regular breaks 16

Drink plenty of water. This can help you to keep hydrated and maintain a good body temperature. It can also make it easier for you to clear excess mucus from your lungs and airways 16

Use a handheld fan, but don’t blow it directly into your face as this may cause you to inhale dust 16

Keep in touch with friends or family. If you live alone, have someone stop by from time to time 15

Seek medical advice if you find your symptoms get worse or you are struggling to breathe.

Avoid triggers

As the weather gets warmer, it’s good to be aware of things that might make your COPD worse. Knowing how and when to avoid these is an important part of helping you to keep well.

  • Check the weather and pollution forecasts. It’s particularly important to stay away from smog and pollution during the summer as this can make your COPD worse. 15 You can check the pollution forecast here
  • Allergies can irritate your lungs and make it harder to breathe. If you suffer from hay fever, make sure to check the pollen count here before going outside
  • Keep dust down in the house by changing your sheets and vacuuming regularly. If you find it tiring to do lots of housework all at once, break it up into small chunks and take regular rest breaks in between each chore 17

Please consult your HCP for further information if needed, or if your COPD symptoms worsen.

Get outdoors

Good weather means more time to spend outdoors, and it’s a great time to get some fresh air and exercise. If you’re planning activities outside, make sure you prepare properly beforehand.

  • Walks and gentle cycle rides are great ways to enjoy the warm weather. Be sure to check with your GP first before doing more strenuous exercise
  • For longer walks or activities make sure you pack a bag of essentials, including any medications you might need, lots of water and a fan 16
  • If the weather is really hot, be sure to only exercise indoors where there is air conditioning, or in a cool, well-ventilated room, like the gym 16
  • Remember to take plenty of breaks and don’t push yourself if you start feeling too breathless