Navigating asthma challenges during summer

As the sweltering heat of summer arrives, it brings with it a host of challenges for those of us unlucky enough to be living with asthma. Asthma can become especially dangerous during the summer months thanks to various factors that are exacerbated during the summer months and increase the risk of suffering an asthma attack.

Asthma Triggers During Summer

Identifying specific triggers that worsen asthma is essential during the summer season. Understanding and managing these triggers effectively is vital for asthma control and overall safety. By being aware of the potential risks, individuals can take proactive measures to minimize exposure and reduce the likelihood of asthma attacks during the summer months. Common triggers include:

  1. Increased Air Pollution
  2. High Humidity
  3. Increased Allergens
  4. Changes in Routine and Environment

Increased Air Pollution

One significant factor contributing to the heightened risk of asthma in summer is the increased levels of air pollution. Factors such as increased road traffic and stagnant air can lead to higher concentrations of air pollution. This can cause significant irritation to the airways, trigger inflammation, and make breathing much more difficult.

High Humidity

High humidity levels cause moisture to linger in the air longer which can encourage the growth of mould and dust mites, both common asthma triggers. The excessive moisture in the air can also make it harder for the body to cool down naturally, leading to an increased breathing rate. This has the potential to trigger asthma symptoms.

Increased Allergens

While it is lovely to see nature in full bloom during the warmer months, pollens from grasses, trees, and weeds are especially prevalent during this time and can trigger allergic reactions and hay fever. The inflammation caused by these reactions are a leading cause of asthma symptoms. As well as allergens in the air, insect bites and stings are more common in summer, and for those with insect allergies, this can pose an additional risk.

Changes in Routine and Environment

Summer often means a change in routine and environment as we seek to take advantage of the longer days and warm weather. Undoubtedly, this usually involves spending more time outdoors and exposure to new environments. This can mean exposure to an array of new and unfamiliar triggers that can increase the chances of suffering asthma flare-ups. But unfortunately, the indoors can pose a problem, too. Spending long periods of time in an air-conditioned environments might feel like the best escape on a hot day, the cool dry air can dry out the natural secretions produced in the airways leaving them susceptible to irritation.

Tips for Managing Asthma in Summer

Summer can be a challenging time for individuals with asthma due to the increased risk of asthma triggers. However, with the right precautions and management strategies, you can still enjoy the season to the fullest. Here are some essential tips to keep you protected and efficiently manage your asthma effectively during the summer:

  1. Regular Medication and Check-ups
  2. Be Mindful of Air Quality
  3. Control Allergen Exposure
  4. Stay Hydrated and Cool
  5. Have an Asthma Action Plan

Regular Medication and Check-ups

Anyone who has every had an asthma attack can tell you the importance of having your inhalers on hand when you need them. It is vital to continue taking your prescribed asthma medicines regularly and as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Additionally, make sure you carry your reliever inhaler like Ventolin inhaler and Salbutamol inhaler, etc. with you at all times. If you are finding that your symptoms are getting worse and worse or you’re using more and more of your Ventolin (Salbutamol), arrange an asthma review with your GP or asthma specialist. Increased use of Ventolin can indicate that your condition is not well controlled and there are likely better treatments available.

Be Mindful of Air Quality

Stay up-to-date about the air quality levels in your area. In the UK, keep an eye on the DEFRA air pollution forecast which forecasts conditions for the next 5 days. On days where the air quality is poor, consider avoiding or minimising outdoor activities or staying indoors with windows closed. Air purifiers can also help to maintain a better quality of indoor air.

Control Allergen Exposure

Avoid exposure to allergens that trigger your symptoms. The Met Office issues a daily pollen forecast specific to your area of the UK which also gives details of the types of pollen that are particularly high. This may help you to narrow down your triggers and allow you to avoid specific pollens. While indoors, keep windows closed, use air conditioning with appropriate filters, and wash clothes and bedding frequently in order to minimize exposure to pollen, dust, and other allergens that collect on these surfaces.

Stay Hydrated and Cool

In warmer weather, drink plenty of water and avoid excessive sweating. Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining healthy airways. The secretions that coat the airways provide a powerful barrier to irritants and staying adequately hydrated helps to keep these secretions moist and plentiful. Using fans or air-conditioning can also help keep your environment cool and comfortable.

Have an Asthma Action Plan

Very importantly, make sure you have a personalized Asthma Action Plan and know the details inside out. The plan is developed between you and your doctor or asthma specialist and will outline the steps to take in case of an asthma attack. It will include the guidance on the appropriate use of medications and when to seek emergency assistance. Your Asthma Action Plan is an integral part of your treatment and provides a set of clear directions to follow in the event of an emergency. It can save your life.


While summer brings great weather and joy to many, it can also be a challenging time for asthma sufferers. Understanding and avoiding your triggers is an important strategy for staying safe and healthy this summer. Maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider and making sure your treatment plan is up to date can help you mitigate the increased asthma risk over the summer and ensure a safer, more enjoyable summer.