When we have an asthma attack, the airways of our lungs narrow due to inflammation and our body produces more mucus. This can make us feel short of breath, as though we can’t get enough air, and it may also trigger wheezing and coughing as associated symptoms. Exposure to cold weather causes cold air to be inhaled into the airways. It increases the chances of a possible asthma attack. When we inhale cold and dry air, the lining tends to volatilize faster than inhaling air at room temperature. It is easy for dry air passages to get inflamed and irritated, making asthma symptoms worse.
Symptoms of a winter Asthma attack
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty speaking
- Chest pain
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
Why does asthma get worse over winter?
People often find their asthma symptoms get worse over winter. This is because there are lots of asthma triggers around at this time of year, including:
- cold weather
- colds and flu
- chest infections
- damp and mold
- dust mites
- central heating, open fires and wood-burning stoves
Tips to ease winter asthma symptoms
1. Keep indoor conditions cool and dry
If dust mites are a trigger, keep your home cool and dry to present mites with a hostile environment for growth, using exhaust fans, for example.
2. Practice deliberate nose breathing
Breathing through your nose also warms air more effectively than mouth breathing, so extreme cold air is moderated better before reaching your lungs.
3. Take your medications as prescribed
Always use your preventer inhaler as instructed by your doctor and carry your reliever inhaler, using it at the first sign of symptoms.
4. Understand your asthma triggers
Though it may take time and trial and error to identify the factors that start your asthma attacks, your knowledge of these is a powerful weapon in your asthma management efforts.
5. Protect yourself against cold and flu
Winter is also prime time for respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu, which can create additional asthma problems, so consider a flu shot and extra hand-washing to reduce your risk.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor before starting any fitness regime or medical advice.
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