COPD & Summer Heat

Flower meadow and majestic clouds

Summer heat can be risky for many of us. But it is especially dangerous for older adults living with COPD. Hot temperatures can cause serious COPD complications ranging from fatigue and shortness of breath to lung spasms or even death. It is important to be aware of the rising temperatures and take steps to ensure you are staying healthy and cool.

The aging experts at St. Charles Community in Covington, Kentucky have pulled together a few tips to help you beat the heat this summer:


  • The simplest tip would be to stay inside and drink plenty of fluids when the mercury rises. But we know that may not always be an option. If you need to run to the grocery store or complete other errands, do so during cooler times of day. Stay out of the full day’s sun. The best times to head out the door are in the morning or in the evening.  We all know heat and humidity are a normal part of summer in northern Kentucky and greater Cincinnati. Try to find a shady spot to park your car. It may be a bit of a challenge, but the heat that builds up inside a car left in the sun with all of the windows up, even for a short period of time, can be dangerous.
  • Physical or strenuous activities should definitely be limited during the warmest parts of the day. Plan to exercise indoors and have family or friends help with outdoor chores such as lawn care. 
  • Be sure you have regular check-ins.  Call or have a family member call you periodically throughout the day. Just to be sure you are feeling up to par.
  • Keep an eye on weather reports and ozone conditions if you are planning to go out during the day. Arrange your outdoor activities during the times of the day when it is predicted to be cooler and free from ozone warnings.

With the proper precautions even those living with COPD can participate in family fun and activities this summer. So plan ahead and take steps to stay cool and remain healthy as you enjoy the summer in northern Kentucky.


Do you live with COPD? What advice has your doctor given you for beating the heat?

St. Charles Community is Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati’s most trusted senior care partner. A faith-based, nonprofit organization, we have served elders in our community for over 50 years.