Not only can cold weather trigger asthma symptoms, it can cause flare-ups that are difficult to manage. Cold, dry winter air can irritate your airways. Add to this that spending more time indoors during winter can aggravate existing environmental allergies.
At Life Point Medical, primary care physician Timothy Scott Beck, MD, helps the community in and around Clayton, Georgia, maintain wellness through preventive and acute care, as well as chronic illness management. If you have asthma, Dr. Beck can help you get a handle on cold weather-induced asthma symptoms.
To understand why colder weather may trigger your asthma symptoms, it helps to know what happens in your body when you have an asthma attack. During an attack, the airways of your lungs narrow and become inflamed, causing characteristic asthma symptoms such as:
Rescue inhalers manage acute asthma attacks. There’s no cure for asthma, and it sometimes changes over time. Living well with asthma means learning about your condition and working closely with a health care provider to execute an effective asthma management plan.
Start with these five tips to ease cold weather-induced asthma symptoms, and discuss your asthma treatment plan with Dr. Beck.
It’s often tempting to breathe through your mouth when outdoors in the wintertime, but if you have asthma, doing so can trigger asthma symptoms. Breathing through your nose warms and humidifies the air before it reaches the lungs.
This doesn’t occur when you breathe through your mouth. If you breathe through your mouth when temperatures dip, cold, dry air enters the lungs, which can cause irritation and trigger asthma symptoms.
Winter is prime time for other respiratory illnesses, including colds, flu, and bronchitis, which can create additional asthma problems. Along with practicing good hand washing hygiene, getting your flu shot can help protect you during winter.
Always use your preventer inhaler as instructed by your doctor. Carry your reliever inhaler with you, using it at the first sign of an asthma attack.
Loosely wrapped, a scarf around your nose and mouth provides you with a mix of warm and cold air when you breathe in, so the effects of cold outside air are limited. It’s good practice to wear a scarf around your lower face during the winter to prevent cold air from drying out your air passages.
Because you spend more time inside during colder months, take steps to limit indoor allergies and things that trigger asthma attacks. Use a humidifier to add moisture back into the air and a HEPA filter to decrease airborne allergens. If you have dust mite allergies, purchase dust mite covers for your mattress and pillows.
You can conquer cold weather-related asthma symptoms this winter. To learn more, call our office to schedule a visit with Dr. Beck today.