Have you noticed that a sudden change in weather can trigger your asthma symptoms?
If so you're not the only one. Most of the people said that cold air can trigger asthma symptoms.
Why cold weather increase your risk of asthma symptoms or an asthma attack?
People with asthma have airways that are very sensitive. Cold or damp air can enter the airways and trigger them to go into spasm, causing asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. And winter can be a difficult time for people with asthma for other reasons too. It's near-impossible to avoid the cold and flu viruses that many people say make their asthma symptoms worse, although being vaccinated against flu each year can prevent you getting the most common strain of flu virus.
During cold, damp weather there are also more mould spores in the air, which can trigger asthma symptoms. And if you avoid going outside in the winter (as many people with asthma tell us they do), you may also be exposed to more indoor air pollutants like dust mite droppings and fumes from cooking or cleaning products. You might even find that your symptoms are triggered by dusty decorations during the festive season.
How can you reduce winter's effect on your asthma?
The best way to avoid a change in weather triggering asthma symptoms is to manage your asthma well.
- Take your medication exactly as prescribed and discussed with your Physician.
- Check with your Doctor that if you're using your inhaler(s)correctly.
- Use a written asthma action plan and keep it where you can see it (in the fridge, for example).
- You can also take a photo of it on your phone so you can refer to it whenever you need it.
- Go for regular asthma reviews.
You can also try these practical tips:
- Carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times and keep taking your regular preventer inhaler as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you need to use your inhaler more often than usual, or use more puffs, speak to your doctor about reviewing your medication.
- Keep warm and dry - wear gloves, a scarf and a hat.
- If sudden changes in temperature - like stepping from a warm house onto a cold street - trigger your symptoms, try wrapping a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth before you go out.
- This will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
- Try breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth, as your nose is designed to warm the air as you breathe it in.
- Avoid any of your known asthma triggers, such as exercise, alcohol or stress.
- If you have hay fever, take your usual preventer medicine for the condition, such as a nasal spray and/or antihistamines. If you're not sure, speak to your Doctor about the best hay fever treatment for you.
- Don't smoke or let other people smoke around you because it can make asthma symptoms worse.
- Make sure you can recognize when your asthma is getting worse and that you know what to do if it is.