SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- In addition to the elderly and pets, there's another population that is especially sensitive to heat-related stress. We're talking about those with respiratory illnesses.
Western Massachusetts is experiencing a summer scorcher and for those who suffer from allergies and asthma, the recent heat has been unbearable.
“From all the trees, grasses, mold, ragweed, and a whole bunch of food allergies, it’s insane…I carry two epi pens and inhalers,” said Debra Joy of Hampden.
Western Mass Mews stopped by Allergy and Immunology Associates of New England in Northampton to learn more about why higher temperatures put certain populations at a higher risk. While pollen counts are currently high, Dr. Jonathan Bayuk told us that the real concern when it comes to heat is asthma.
“Allergies themselves aren’t necessarily a problem…Asthma is a whole different story, so asthma are people who have airway constriction and mucus production in their lungs and so if they have any serious asthma that’s not well controlled, this type of heat can be extremely serious,” Bayuk explained.
Bayuk told Western Mass News in the last few days, he's received several calls from people who required additional treatment, even while taking their regular medication. One of those individuals is still hospitalized.
“If you have more serious asthma or other lung conditions, you really have to be careful because it can sneak up on you very fast and you may not have a warning sign and then you’re having real trouble breathing and it’s an emergency,” Bayuk said.
If you struggle with a respiratory illness, there are some signs to look out for. Those symptoms include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and chest heaviness. In addition, those with more serious lung diseases need to be extra careful.
“Stay inside in air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, really limit the movements that you can have. Make sure you have cold water, ice water, you know…cold towels, just keep your body temperature low because that extra stress from the heat can really push people over the top with lung conditions as well as heart conditions,” Bayuk said.