For many Ontarians, the spring and summer months are a welcome chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with the solitude of nature at campgrounds and cottages. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of the warm weather in a lung-friendly way!
1. Put your mind at ease before you travel to new corners of Ontario by finding out where the nearest emergency medical services are located at your destination. This way, you will be prepared if you have an emergency.
2. Adventure awaits – but make sure you keep your lung condition under control just as you would at home. Continue to take your prescribed medications as directed and follow any written action/self-management plan provided by your health care provider. This plan can help you decide what steps to take if you experience symptoms. Always keep your quick relief (reliever) medication nearby in case you need it quickly. For asthma and COPD, this is usually a blue inhaler.
3. When the cottage is first opened, air it out thoroughly before entering; dust and mould may have built up. Check the cottage for moisture and mould problems, and take steps to fix any issues. Ideally, anything in the cottage that smells musty should be thrown out. You should also replace carpeting with smooth flooring. Natural air fresheners such as fresh-cut flowers from the garden are better than chemical air fresheners, as long as you are not allergic to the flowers. Learn more – and take our “healthy home tour” – here.
4. Once we get out of the city, we might think we are getting away from smog and air pollution too. This is not always true. Consider the Ontario shorelines of Lake Huron and Lake Erie. Monitoring results from Tiverton and Grand Bend indicate that smog concentrations are sometimes higher there than in urban areas. Some of the highest smog readings in Canada occur at Long Point Provincial Park on Lake Erie. Smog also reaches across the Bruce Peninsula and the Muskokas through to the Algonquin region. Occasionally, elevated concentrations are also found in the northwestern part of the province. You can sign up for smog alerts – and learn more about air quality – at http://www.airqualityontario.com/alerts/signup.php.
Questions about your family’s lung health? Our Lung Health Information Line is for you! This free service is available Monday through Friday during business hours. Call 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) to speak to a Certified Respiratory Educator.
Why not call before you head off to the cottage?