How to cope with your breathing conditions in hot weather

Posted: 18th May 18 2:51 PM

Many people living with an asbestos-related lung disease, such as asbestosis or pleural thickening, can find that the hot weather affects them in ways they didn’t think it would.

Hot summer days can make it more of a struggle to get outside for fresh air and light exercise.

We have put together some tips to help you keep going in the heat.

Being prepared

In the hot weather it is always a good idea to carry a small cool-pack around with you. You can pack it with a water bottle and damp flannel to hydrate and cool yourself, as well as some ice packs to keep everything cold. You can also clean out an old spray or perfume bottle and fill it with water to use as a spritzer to cool yourself down.

A handheld fan, and a spare battery, can come in very useful too!

You should plan to go to places with plenty of shade as well as somewhere to sit and rest. If the sun is high and it’s very hot, take an umbrella with you to bring some shade wherever you go.

Always double check any medication you might need to bring as well as any emergency inhalers. It’s also important to take a charged phone with you, in case you need to ask a family member or friend to come and pick you up.

Keeping cool

It’s important not to overdress or wear too many layers if you’re going out for a walk. Walking, even at a slow pace, can quickly warm you up. In hot weather, you don’t want to build up body heat, you want to lower it.

If you feel like you might need to take a coat or cardigan with you, keep it in a bag or backpack, or tie it around your waist.

If you need some cool air urgently, try and shelter under some trees. The air here will be at a lower temperature. If you are in a more built up area, try and find a supermarket, bank, or even an office block to use for shelter. Don’t be embarrassed to go into these places if you need to (the freezer and chilled aisles of supermarkets can be a life saver). People can be really nice to you if you need some help, too.

Avoiding the heat

If there is a heatwave forecast, don’t go outside during the hottest time of the day, usually between 11am and 2pm, if you don’t need to. If you have to go out, plan your day around the early morning or the evening when the air is cooler.

If you do need to go out during the day, avoid being in the sun for lengthy stretches. Wear loose, cool clothing and a hat.

And always wear sun cream.

If you or a loved one is ever diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, such as pleural thickening or asbestosis, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the National Asbestos Helpline. We’re here to help you with advice about your condition and how to cope with it, and can also advise on any benefits and/ or compensation you might be entitled to. Call us on Freephone 0800 043 6635, or email

Further reading

What is asbestosis?

What is pleural thickening?

What is the difference between mesothelioma and asbestosis?

How can I stay well this winter with an asbestos-related disease?