While it’s one of the most anticipated seasons of the year, summer can also be the most difficult season for Canadians living with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). We want to help you make the most of it! Here’s what you need to know about summer, and how you can enjoy yours this year.
In hot weather, your body works harder to maintain its regular temperature. This requires more oxygen and can make it difficult to breath. Staying indoors is one of the best ways you can make it easier for your body to maintain a regular temperature, which will also make it much easier for you to breathe. Consider purchasing a portable air conditioner or air filtration system, as well as a small humidifier for your home and bedroom (moisture and humidity levels should be set at around 40%).
Of course, you won’t want to stay inside all summer. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep you going while you’re on-the-go:
Getting enough water is an easy way to help your body regulate its temperature. It’s recommended that you drink an average of eight full glasses of water every day. Keep a reusable water bottle full and with you, or try using a thermos to keep your water cool. You can also add cucumbers, berries, or citrus fruit to make staying hydrated easy and enjoyable.
Spring and summer are full of allergens that can cause COPD flare ups. Know your triggers and talk to your doctor about how to best manage your allergies during the summer months.
Loose-fitting, cotton, or wicking material will keep you cooler in the summer. Opt for lighter colours when you’re planning your outfit as well!
Avoid hot and heavy meals that are harder to digest and require cooking in front of a hot oven or stove top. Instead, choose cool fruits and vegetables, try salads and smoothies, and experiment with cereals, yoghurt parfaits, and home-made sandwiches. It’s also a good idea to eat multiple smaller meals rather than a few large heavy ones that will be harder for you to digest.
One of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your cardiovascular health is to exercise. Find ways to stay active whether its indoors or out. Go swimming, visit the gym, or sign up for classes. Even better, find a buddy to go with you! Remember to always talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
There are plenty of ways for you to have fun while avoiding the heat and humidity.
- Put a summer spin on your movie nights with a trip to the drive-in theatre. Temperature and humidity tend to fall in the evening, and if you still find it difficult to breathe you can hop back in your car and turn the air conditioning on.
- Did you know Canada has 302 history and science museums? Why not visit a few and learn something new this summer?
- Find a new favorite restaurant with a patio and some shade. Even better, find one on the beach so you can watch the sun, sand, and waves rolling in.
- In the summer the sun rises as early as 5:30am and sets as late as 9:30pm. Grab a friend and enjoy a sunrise/sunset stroll when the heat and humidity is low.
- Summer is the season of arts and culture. Go watch a concert, musical, or play near you.
- Get cooking! Find easy, healthy, and fun summer recipes that you can experiment with.
- Spend time with family and friends. Most people have summer hours, vacation, or other time off during this season. Make the most of your loved ones by spending time together. Staying in touch will boost your mental and emotional health, which can also boost your immune system and physical health as well.
Enjoy the sunshine!