How Humidity Can Trigger Asthma Attacks


How Humidity Can Trigger Asthma Attacks

August 15, 2018

Environmental humidity can be pretty troublesome for asthmatics. Here is how heightened moisture content in the air, typically associated with the rainy months and pretty much year-round in Florida, can trigger frequent asthma attacks.

Asthmatics often find themselves struggling to fill their lungs with fresh air especially when common allergens like dust, pollen, or even some smells are around. A lesser known fact is that their struggle becomes much more distressful during the rainy season when humidity is at its peak. Air laden with water particles usually also carries additional triggers that make life tougher for patients with respiratory ailments, especially those who have a history of asthma.

Humidity can affect asthmatics due to the following three reasons:

  1. Humid air is denser and hence more difficult to inhale – Humid air is naturally heavier than its drier counterpart. Your body temperature usually rises when you exert yourself more to breathe such air. For non-asthmatics, the extra energy needed to breathe during the rainy season only translates to copious amounts of sweat and increased consumption of water to counter it. On the contrary, for asthmatics who spend more time outdoors, these effects kick off a series of symptoms that can bloom quickly into a full-fledged asthma attack.

  2. Rain Brings a Drop in the Temperature – Rain can bring a sudden drop in temperature, especially after a hot summer day. For most people this cooling effect is a cause for celebration, however, for asthmatics, it can be bothersome. When you have asthma, your airways react adversely to a sudden swing in temperature. The inflammation in your lungs can worsen during the rain, making breathing more laborious.

  3. Increased Number of Allergens – Increased humidity also proportionally increases the number of allergens around you. Most pollutants tend to attach themselves to the water particles in the air and stay suspended at ground level for long. Mold grows faster in wetter conditions, and dust mites too find the humid air conducive for multiplying. Breathing in air that is pregnant with all these allergens can be quite hazardous for asthmatics.

If you are asthmatic, you can take some of the steps mentioned below to counter the effects of heightened humidity during the rain:

  1. Stay indoors during the day to avoid excessive exposure to allergens. If you are fond of exercising, try switching to an indoor gym or swimming pool for a couple of months during the rainy season instead.

  2. Protect yourself against sudden temperature changes by dressing up adequately. Keep your body warm to avoid triggering symptoms of asthma.

  3. An air-conditioner can be helpful in cutting down the humidity as can a de-humidifier. These appliances can help keep dust mites out of your house.

  4. Keep your bathrooms dry to prevent the growth of mold.

Consider getting an air purifier for your home to get rid of suspended air pollutants.