The colder temperatures and drier air in winter can trigger flare-ups in many chronic conditions. Wintertime is especially hard on individuals with asthma and is potentially dangerous. To keep a handle on winter asthma flare-ups, we have some guidelines that will help.
Asthma and Winter
Asthma is a chronic condition of the airways of the lungs. Individuals with asthma always have some level of inflammation in their airways. This makes them more susceptible to factors that can trigger an attack. Symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- Wheezing, especially when exhaling
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in your chest
In winter, the air is drier, and of course, colder. The dry air irritates the airways and causes swelling. Breathing in cold air signals our bodies to produce histamine. Histamine is a chemical that triggers wheezing and other asthma symptoms. Another significant factor in winter is sinus, and respiratory infections are more common, which can trigger or worsen asthma flare-ups.
Winter Asthma Precautions
Now that you know how the cold affects asthma symptoms, you can take steps to reduce or eliminate winter flare-ups greatly. Since attacks are higher in the colder months, talk with your doctor to make sure you have enough rescue medications for an attack, along with your regular long-term control ones. Here are some other precautions to consider:
- Limit time outdoors when the temperatures are really low. Use a scarf to cover your nose and mouth when you need to go outside.
- Get your flu vaccine early in the fall.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help remove the mucus in your lungs easier.
- Try to avoid anyone who appears to be sick and wash hands often.
- When exercising outdoors when it’s cold, warm up first and always carry your inhaler with you in case of an attack. Use your inhaler 15-30 minutes before to open up airways and help you breathe easier.
Are you currently receiving treatment for your asthma? If so, clinical research studies may be an option. North Georgia Clinical Research has studies enrolling for individuals with asthma looking into potential new options. To learn more, call us at (678) 494-5735 or visit our website today!