Understanding Winter Asthma

As winter brings colder and dryer weather, those with asthma are faced with challenges. The extreme environmental changes make asthma symptoms worse. However, that does not mean you have to suffer through the season.

During the wintertime, asthma is triggered by weather changes. In cold and dry climates, the air becomes an irritating factor for airways, causing inflammation and swelling and making the muscles spasm. Individuals with asthma have sensitive airways, and breathing cold air hurts them. Asthma symptoms from the irritation are far worse than what may be experienced during warmer parts of the year. Wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness are common asthma symptoms.

When cold air is breathed in, the nasal cavity produces more mucus, and the lining of the lungs experiences irritation. Respiratory viruses that often occur during the winter also factor into asthma triggers. These infections include Covid-19, the flu, the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis.

There are solutions to managing your health to avoid terrible asthma symptoms. Staying inside and avoiding the elements is fine if the indoor environment is well-suited. Still, it will not help relieve symptoms in the long term. Inside your home, you are exposed to dust mites, air from heating symptoms, pets, and mold.

To conquer your winter asthma, here are some tips.

–           Keep windows closed and invest in air purifiers to eliminate indoor pollutants. Clean regularly by setting up a weekly/ daily schedule of when to vacuum, dust, and wipe down surfaces.  

–           Stay Warm! You cannot stay inside forever, so wear layers when going out. Dressing with one or two extra layers keeps the body warm and allows for flexibility in fluctuating temperatures. Add a hat and gloves, and wear a scarf to cover your mouth and nose if you are walking outside. A scarf can help reduce the risk of triggering an asthma attack by making the air you breathe less cold.

–           Hydrating more keeps your air passageways clear of any mucus. Using a humidifier in your home is also a great way to make the air less dry.

–           Take the asthma medication prescribed. Staying on a consistent schedule controls the symptoms and does not require an inhaler as often.

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