This site is intended for health professionals only

Prepare lung patients for heatwave

A heat wave has been forecast in many parts of the country for the rest of the week so the British Lung Foundation has issued advice to people living with a lung condition who may be at risk of seeing their condition worsen in the hot weather.

Temperatures are predicted to reach 35°C on Wednesday and during hot weather the air has lower moisture levels than usual, which can have a drying effect on our airways as we breathe.

This means that people with respiratory conditions such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)or severe asthma may find it harder to breathe, feel more tired, or find their lungs feeling particularly heavy or tight.

Vicky Barber, British Lung Foundation helpline nurse manager, said: “People living with a lung condition can help avoid the impact of hot weather by taking some simple steps such as avoiding going outside at midday, and only doing excessive physical activity during the cooler ends of the day. They should try to wear loose, cool clothing and a hat when going outdoors. It's also important that they drink plenty of water and remember to carry their medication with them.

She advised that nurses tell people, whether they have a lung condition or not, to see a GP or call 111 if their breathing or lungs feel affected by the hot weather.