Weathering Summer Asthma

Long sunny days and warm temperatures can be ideal for lounging on the beach, swimming, taking a long walk, and playing a game of tennis. Yet the fluctuating temperatures, high levels of humidity, air pollution, pollen, and the prevalence of other seasonal allergens can often be to blame for triggering a host of asthma symptoms.

Summer thunderstorms can also be to blame for some asthma flare-ups, according to a study reported in Thorax, 2008. Researchers found that emergency room visits slightly increased on stormy days. They believe that the reason is because the rain ruptures grains of pollen and then the accompanying wind helps spread them.

Summer Asthma Triggers

While you can't change the summer conditions, there are some things you can do to overcome seasonal asthma challenges:

  1. Allergy-proof your home and work settings. This means vacuuming and dusting regularly, keeping your windows closed, and running your air conditioner.
  2. Pay attention to the pollen counts so you can plan your outdoor activities for when levels are at its lowest.
  3. If you do go out during high pollen times, be sure to shower and wash your clothes afterwards to remove any allergens that linger.
  4. When a summer thunderstorm is on the horizon, stay indoors until it passes.
  5. Use a peak flow monitor on a daily basis so that you'll know when to take steps to head off a brewing problem.
  6. Take your asthma medication as directed. Use a long-acting control inhaler to help manage your asthma, as well as a fast-acting relief inhaler to address flare-ups.
  7. Make an effort to avoid common asthma triggers such as smoke, scented products, air pollution, and chemicals. During the summer months your airways may be especially sensitive, so steer clear of these allergens.




Grundstein, A et al. "Letters: Thunderstorm associated asthma in Atlanta, Georgia." Thorax 63 (2008): 659-660.

Johns Hopkins Health Alert. "True or False: Thunderstorms Trigger Asthma Attacks." N.d. Web. 7 June 2012.

Tricare Military Health System. "Managing Asthma in the Summer." Media Room. N.d. Web. 4 June 2012.