Summer Lungs

Let’s think about how we can keep our lungs healthy in summer.  Did you know that respiratory symptoms can worsen in the warmer months? This can be due to increased air pollution and pollen levels. Read our top tips on staying healthy this summer.

Hay Fever

You might notice your hay fever symptoms getting worse in summer.  That’s because pollen counts are highest in the warmer months, and in particular between late March and September. Although there is no cure for hay fever, there are steps that can be taken to make your symptoms less bothersome. This can include:

  • Use the MET office pollen forecast to tell you when the pollen count is highest, and therefore when is best to go out or stay in (
  • Wash or change your clothes after being outside.
  • Use vaseline around your nose to trap pollen.
  • Vacuum regularly and wipe surfaces with a damp cloth.
  • Optimise your hay fever treatment by discussing options with your GP or hospital doctor.

For more information, read here

Fitness to Fly

Now that the pandemic has eased, the prospect of an overseas holiday is getting everyone excited. But before you book those plane tickets, consider if you might need oxygen on board the flight. When we fly, the air is ‘thinner’ due to less pressure, and therefore there is less oxygen available to breathe.  This means that some patients with chronic lung conditions may require supplemental oxygen to fly. Consider the following:

  • Can you walk 100m on the flat without needing oxygen? If the answer is no, consider consulting with your doctor to assess if you need oxygen onboard an aeroplane.
  • If you already require oxygen for your respiratory condition, talk to your doctor about how you might need to adjust your requirements on board.
  • Finally, remember to think about health insurance (and European Health Insurance Card if applicable).

Read here for more information

Air Pollution

Air pollution can have short and long term consequences on health, and unfortunately it can worsen lung conditions or breathing problems. Most of the pollutants we breathe are from combustion from heating, power generation or from motor vehicles. On days when air pollution is high, consider:

  • Avoiding strenuous physical activity outdoors.
  • Try to avoid rush hour traffic and stay away from pollution hot spots.
  • If you have an inhaler, remember to carry it with you.
  • Switch off your car engine when stationary.
  • Check out the Daily Air Quality Index, which tells you about the level of air pollution in your local area

General Tips

  • Stay well hydrated and carry water and inhalers (if required) with you.
  • Optimise your hay fever management and avoid high pollen areas when possible.
  • Consider how you travel to avoid air pollution.
  • Be prepared before you travel with insurance and get an assessment for oxygen if needed.
  • Remember to use sun protection.
  • And, most importantly, enjoy yourself!

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