SOURCE: Ontario Lung Association

Ontario Lung Association

June 24, 2013 12:26 ET

Heat Wave Endangers Millions of Ontarians With Lung Disease

Lung Health Information Line Helps Those at Risk to Stay Safe

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - June 24, 2013) -  For the 2.4 million (one in five) Ontarians living with a serious lung disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer, this week's extreme heat isn't just uncomfortable -- it can be dangerous.

The risk of experiencing serious breathing difficulties increases dramatically during extreme weather, including the severe heat forecast for this week.

The effects of smog, heat and humidity can sometimes be felt well before a smog alert is issued. The lungs become more sensitive, causing flare-ups that often mean a visit to the emergency department or even a stay in hospital.

Even people who do not have lung disease may experience difficulty breathing in extreme heat conditions or when smog levels are high.

During very hot and humid weather, when outdoor air quality is poor, the Ontario Lung Association recommends that you:

  • Stay indoors in an air-conditioned place with good indoor air quality;
  • Keep your blinds and curtains closed to keep out the sun's heat. At night, if you don't have air-conditioning and outdoor air pollution is low, open your windows to let the cool air in;
  • Listen to air quality and humidity (humidex) advisories;
  • Keep outdoor activity to a minimum and consider exercising indoors in a cool, clean environment. Schedule outdoor activity at a time when heat and smog is lower. At the very least, a reduced pace of activity, frequent rest periods in the shade and drinking extra fluids are advised. 
  • Keep your rescue medication (usually a blue puffer) with you;
  • Keep your lung condition under control and follow your action plan from your doctor; and
  • See your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms.

People who have questions or concerns about their breathing, or about lung health issues in general, can call the certified respiratory educators at the Ontario Lung Association toll-free Lung Health Information Line at 1888344LUNG (5864) or visit www.on.lung.ca.

About the Ontario Lung Association

The Lung Association is a registered charity that provides information, education and funding for research to improve lung health. The organization focuses on the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease, tobacco control as well as healthy air and the effects of pollution on lung health. For information on lung health, call 1‐888‐344‐LUNG (5864), which is staffed by certified respiratory educators, or visit www.on.lung.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter @OntarioLung and Facebook.

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