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Copd and travelling in hot weather

Hello my husband was diagnosed with asthma/fixed airway obstruction (which I assume is copd) in 2015.  He has not had to take any emergency medication since then until March of this year when he had his first flare up during freezing weather with snow on the ground.  since then he has had another couple of flares and has had to take steroids each time on advice of his gp, although only one lot of antibiotics.  We pushed to be referred to the hospital consultant for a thorough examination.  Actually he was diagnosed in Greater London but we now live in Greater Manchester.  My question which obviously we will ask the consultant once we get an appointment is this.  We are due to go to a family wedding in August 200 miles away in the South.  This will involve a long car journey which usually takes around 4 hours but can take much longer of course as you can never plan for traffic etc.  What is really concerning us is should the weather be hot in August and especially knowing it will be even hotter down South should we go to the wedding.  The hotel etc is booked but as I don't drive myself all the driving will be down to my husband something he is used to but at 72 and with these health problems should we just cancel.  The weather here for the last couple of weeks has been in the low 20's so nice but not very hot but the pollen count is very high and this is definitely affecting him.  Even myself with mild asthma have had to take my reliever inhaler during the day which is rare.  Any advice would be appreciated.  My husband thinks I am worrying about nothing but being a worrier I am imagining him unable to breath stuck on a motorway.  Thank you so much for reading this.  

13 Replies

  • libralady13

    What about portable oxygen?  I have COPD and am on 2 liters of oxygen 24/7

    • judy1947

      Thanks for your reply. We will certainly ask the consultant about portable oxygen. Today my husband saw his gp and he is back on steroids shorter but higher dose. She has requested that his appointment with the consultant be regarded urgent so hope this will come through soon. She something about diseases of the soft tissue which apparently are harder to treat. Any idea what this means.

  • libralady13


    Although I live in the US I live in the south. I have Chronic bronchitis (COPD) and there have been many flare ups lately. I would advise if you travel to have doctor prescribe taking with you portable oxygen, plugs into lighter.....the heat takes your breath away, (if you have air conditioning that is better) the pollen is a problem also. I understand your concern, Heat, humidity in the southern part of any country can be a problem with this condition. If you husband is comfortable, and you have the inhalers, and can maybe stop somewhere for some rest along the way it might be helpful. Good luck. I do hope you will be able to go. Then again it might all be alright and you won't have any difficulties. Truly hope this is the case. 

    • antoinette99244

      Thanks for replying. If you read my reply to Judy you will see my husband is back on steroids. Hopefully his urgent referral to the consultant will come through soon. We will mention about having portable oxygen when we see the consultant. We always stop once or twice on a long journey as you suggest. I appreciate the advice given by you and Judy and James. Best wishes to you all.

  • libralady13

    Its an unknown situation, generally weather in August can be hot, but since your husband is the one doing the driving perhaps see what he thinks.   He knows how he reacts to temperatures over 26C for instance. 

    Having air conditioning in the car is helpful and so is staying in a hotel with air con if the weather is very hot.  However as its unknown what the temperature will be in August its down to how your husband feels about it when it comes around.  I would think he would have a pretty good idea since being diagnosed in 2015.

    Its a long journey and I would say you will need at least 2 stops for coffee to be safe.

    An exacerbation may not mean a lung infection or hospitalisation, but it will mean he needs to take all his meds with him and back up aids if he has them, nebulizer etc.

    I personally would recommend getting one of those hand held battery operated fans that has a water spray if its hot on the day of the wedding.

    You won't get portable oxygen prescribed unless your husband needs it ie his arteriel blood gas shows he needs it but I am thinking he will already have been checked with oximeter and if that showed low he would have been referred for the arteriel blood gas check already. but do ask the consultant when you see him or her.

    Hope you manage to enjoy your August wedding smile


  • libralady13

    I have stage 3 COPD. It consist of Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. I use a nebulizer on a daily basis to loosen the mucus that collects in my upper lungs/airways so that I can cough it up/out. In addition I also carry an inhaler to help relax my restricted bronchial tubes and allow the surrounding muscles allow my airways to expand.Mucinex, a non prescription over the counter medicine also helps to lessen the mucus accumulation. 

    Asthma is Not COPD, but it is a serious medical condition and should be discussed/examined with your Drs. They will put you on to the best proper treatment and that is when this travel question should be discussed. Write down what you want to talk with the Dr about ahead of time, this will ensure that important concerns are fully addressed. 

    Best of luck and please let us hear about your health problems moving forward. . 

    • larry49033

      Thank you for your reply.  We are going to do as you suggest and write down a list of questions to ask the consultant, and hope they will say whether is is Asthma  copd or both.  Our gp asked for an urgent referral at our local hospital but unfortunately something went wrong and it went through as non urgent.  Subsequently he has an appointment at a hospital some 15 miles away but not until August 2nd which is only a week before we would go to the wedding.  Today he is going to the surgery to try and sort it out an get an earlier appointment.  We have 2 hospitasl much closer than the one referred to so hopefully can change that as well.  Will let you know the outcome.  

  • Hello update on my husband He has the results of the spirometry  done at the gp surgery and a letter from the consultant who examined him last month.  He has since then has bloods tests for allergies and a comprehensive lung function tests at the hospital.  Today we have received a follow up appointment with the consultant but not until October.  The consultant will review all the tests and and look at the peak flow readings my husband was asked to do for 6 weeks and will then decide whether to change medication or proceed with a scan to get a better idea of whati s going on.  I am interested to know what the gp results mean if anyone can help.  First the likely diagnosis is Chronic asthma with a element of COPD.  The first spirometry shows a restrictive pattern with FEV/FVC ratio of 78%, FEV1 was 1.81(68%) and FVC 2.31 (67%).  Heart sounds normal but listening to his chest the consultant could hear a few basal crackles.  Peak flow over the last 3/4 weeks are from 170-230 mostly 200 in the morning  and from 250/350 evening.  He was told to do them twice a day.  Apart from that glad to say he has not had to go back on steroids since last flare up.  Can anyone say what these results could mean even thought I know we still have to wait for the results of the tests done in hospital.  We are still planning to go to the wedding in 3 weeks but obviously looking closely at the weather forecast.

  • libralady13

    I hope that all will be well with you and yours. How do you feel about the med. exams. and what did the Dr. say about travel? 

    • larry49033

      Thank you for reply. We feel ok about the medical exams but of course we will feel happier once we get the latest results. The appointment is not until October was supposed to end of August but I assume that is the first available one. I did mention about travel and hot weather but got the impression that we should make our own decisions about this. He did not seem concerned.

  • Update on travelling in hot weather,  The family wedding nearly 200 miles away was this last weekend  Luckily the heatwave was over and we travelled down in comfort even though it was dull and raining.  My husband  had no real problems with his breathing and everything went well with no hitches.  The wedding was lovely and the journey back uneventful.  We were both shattered and our arthritis played up probably sleeping in hotel  bed rather than our own.  Thanks to all who offered advice but he managed on all the usual medication without a need for any increase or emergency pack.  

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