Hot weather and pulmonary fibrosis

Not everybody with pulmonary fibrosis struggles in hot weather. But hot weather combined with humidity can make you feel breathless. Hayfever and pollutants may also aggravate your symptoms of cough and breathlessness.

Six tips for dealing with hot weather

1. Keep your home cool

Close curtains and blinds to prevent the hot sun from getting in during the day. You can open your windows at night. If you get hayfever, remember that the pollen count is highest in the early morning and late evening.

2. Use a fan

Sleep with a fan in your bedroom and use a handheld fan to keep yourself cool. Many people with pulmonary fibrosis find pointing a fan towards their face can help with breathlessness.

3. Don’t go out at the hottest time of the day

The sun is usually strongest between 11am and 3pm. Plan trips outside the house for when

the temperature is cooler and the air quality is better. Walk in the shade, carry water and don’t push yourself too hard to avoid breathlessness.

4. Drink cold water

Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. A glass of water from the fridge can cool you down when it’s really hot.

5. Avoid carrying too much

You can get fatigued in hot weather more than normal, especially when carrying heavy items. Ask people for help with groceries and suitcases. If you use ambulatory oxygen, you may want to plan a route to avoid carrying your oxygen cylinders in hot weather.

6. Try not to go out when pollen is high

Hayfever can make your lung symptoms worse. Watch the weather forecast and look out for days with a high pollen count. Pollen is highest in the late evenings and early mornings.

7. Protect yourself from the sun

Pirfenidone (Esbriet) and certain antibiotics, such as doxycycline and ciprofloxacin, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. They can also cause a skin rash or sunburn. Wearing high factor sun block and keeping covered up can help to protect you.