Hot Weather Poses Problems for Asthma Sufferers

Aside from browning grass and hurting crops, the hot, humid weather can also trigger asthma.

The Department of Natural Resources says the next two days will be the worst yet for air pollutant levels, and next week has the potential for even higher ozone concentrations.

That, along with heat and humidity, can pose a dangerous threat to those who choose to brave the elements. But it won't rain on everyone's parade.

At only 7 years old, Sam Jensen is an avid sports fan and player. he loves soccer, football, and baseball. But there's one catch: he has asthma.

"Tell me what it's like to have asthma?" I ask as he takes a break from running around the yard with his younger sister, "Hard to breathe," he says.

"We don't really know if his asthma is going to go in a different direction," says Sam's father, Tim Jensen, "It's viral induced right now and it's certainly possible it could become exercise induced and those are the kinds of things we're looking for right now."

They're looking for signs that the hot, humid weather is triggering Sam's asthma.

It's a common complaint under these conditions, and it's keeping doctors like Reid Olson very busy.

"The heat and humidity just make the work of breathing a lot more difficult," says Dr. Olson, a Dean Health Allergist, "So if you're already asthmatic and have trouble breathing, this just compounds it."

Another compound: ozone levels.

While they're not at a health alert stage now, a hot, muggy stretch is all it takes.

"It creates more or less an increase in the 'twitchiness' of the airways," continues Olson, "Which is a hallmark of asthma."

But it's a mark that Tim Jensen says won't control his son's childhood.

"He likes to be active, he likes to run around and hopefully asthma won't be something that will limit him in those regards."

If you have asthma and do spend time outdoors in the next few days, remember to take your medication regularly and limit your outdoor activity.

Surprisingly, more than 17 million Americans suffer from asthma.


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