Certain environmental factors can make your asthma flare. These include air temperature and humidity, both indoors and outdoors. The ideal room temperature for people with asthma is a mild temperature with low humidity.
Extreme temperatures and humidity levels can trigger an asthma attack. However, you can minimize your risk indoors by adjusting your environment.
Read on to learn about the best room temperature for asthma and how to reduce indoor asthma triggers.
Very hot temperatures with high humidity and very cold temperatures can worsen asthma. Therefore, mild temperatures and low humidity are recommended.
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Additionally, indoor humidity levels should be 30 to 50 percent, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. This level of humidity is less likely to cause asthma symptoms.
There are several devices you can use to create the ideal temperature and humidity levels indoors:
- Exhaust fans. To maintain low humidity, turn on the exhaust fan when you shower. If you don’t have an exhaust fan, open a window.
- Humidifier. If you live in a dry environment, a humidifier can make the air more comfortable to breathe in. It can also humidify the air during the winter months when the indoor heat is higher.
- Dehumidifier. If you live in a humid and damp environment, a dehumidifier can keep humidity levels low.
- Air conditioner. An air conditioner can also help asthma symptoms by reducing indoor humidity.
The best choice depends on your triggers, current weather, and air quality of your home.
It’s important to avoid adding or removing too much humidity when using these devices. Very low or high humidity levels can make asthma worse. To monitor indoor humidity, use a small tool called a hygrometer. You can find it at a hardware store.
Be sure to regularly clean these appliances, too. This will minimize harmful bacteria and dust, which can reduce the air quality of your home.
If it’s very hot and humid or very cold outside, here’s what you can do to reduce your risk of asthma symptoms:
- Stay inside when the air quality is poor. Check your local levels of pollen and pollution, which can trigger asthma symptoms. Avoid going outside when these levels are high.
- Wear a face mask or scarf. When the weather is cold, cover your nose and mouth. This will help humidify the air you breathe in.
- Keep warm in cold weather. Stay warm by wearing a hat, scarf, and gloves in cold weather.
- Carry your rescue inhaler. Bring your rescue inhaler in case you experience symptoms while you’re outside.
- Follow your treatment plan. You’re more likely to experience symptoms if your asthma isn’t well managed. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for treating and managing asthma.
Because asthma involves the airways, the air you inhale directly affects asthma symptoms. These symptoms are determined by different aspects of the air, including temperature and humidity.
Sudden changes in air temperature can trigger asthma. For example, a sudden change can occur if it’s hot outside and you enter a cool building.
Specifically, extreme air temperature and high humidity (both indoors and outdoors) can worsen asthma.
In a hot and humid environment, it can be difficult to breathe because inhaling this air can tighten your airways. In hot weather, you may also breathe faster and become dehydrated, triggering asthma symptoms.
Additionally, hot temperatures increase pollen counts and air pollution levels. Pollen and pollution can trigger asthma symptoms.
A cold environment can also worsen asthma symptoms. Cold air, which is often dry, causes the mucus that naturally coats your airways to quickly evaporate. This makes your airways irritated and narrow.
In addition to extreme weather and air temperature, other environmental factors can trigger asthma symptoms. These include:
- Dust mites. Dust mites are a common allergen that can trigger asthma flare-ups. They thrive in humid environments and accumulate on bedding, carpets, and other fabrics.
- Mold. Mold, which grows in damp and humid environments, can also promote asthma symptoms. Regular cleaning and low indoor humidity can help control mold.
- Pollen. Pollen counts tend to be higher on warm days and after thunderstorms. If you’re allergic to pollen, high pollen counts may cause an asthma flare-up.
- Air pollution. Pollution from vehicles, wildfires, and factories can also trigger an asthma attack.
If you begin to experience asthma symptoms and haven’t received a diagnosis, speak with a doctor. They can diagnose your condition and recommend treatment based on your symptoms.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with asthma, continue getting regular checkups from your doctor. This will allow your doctor to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment as necessary.
Other reasons to speak with a doctor
You should also speak with a doctor in the following scenarios:
- You need to use an inhaler more often.
- Your symptoms get worse after taking medication.
- You have a worsening or persisting cough.
- You feel dizzy or weak.
- You’re unable to breathe during daily activities like cooking dinner.
- You experience new wheezing.
A small study suggests that the best room temperature for people with asthma is between 68 and 71°F (20 and 21.6°C). This air temperature is mild, so it won’t irritate the airways. Additionally, an indoor humidity level between 30 and 50 percent is ideal.
It’s also important to implement strategies to manage your asthma. Work with your doctor to create a management plan that suits your lifestyle. This will reduce your risk of asthma symptoms in both indoor and outdoor environments.