Does the wintertime cause you to deal with frequent asthma flare-ups?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Certain factors can trigger your symptoms. It’s important to recognize your asthma triggers so you can avoid them as much as possible. Along with exercise and stress, you may find that your asthma is aggravated by cold weather. Cold weather is a common problem for people with asthma and can make symptoms worse.
So, it’s not actually the coldness of the weather itself that can lead to restricted airways and trouble breathing in those with asthma. It’s actually the dryness in the cold air. Your nose and mouth typically warm up the air before it hits the lungs, but when the air is too cold, your nose and mouth may not be able to fully warm up the air before it reaches the lungs.
If you also enjoy running or exercising outdoors, this can lead to a double whammy of asthma symptoms. To protect yourself, you may wish to bring your physical activities indoors and limit exposure to the outdoor elements during the winter months.
How do I know that cold and dry air is a trigger?
Some of the most common asthma symptoms include,
- A persistent cough (that may get worse at night)
- Chest tightness
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms typically occur fairly quickly after being in cold weather. Fortunately, you may notice that your symptoms go away or lessen once you go back inside. If your asthma is more severe, you may need a rescue inhaler to ease your symptoms, even once you’re indoors.
How do I manage my cold weather-related asthma problems?
Along with taking your everyday controller inhaler, which reduces inflammation in the lungs and airways, a rescue inhaler is going to provide you with short but fast relief when your asthma symptoms flare-up. If you don’t have a rescue inhaler, or you don’t find that your current rescue inhaler lessens your symptoms, it’s important to talk with your allergist and asthma doctor right away.
It’s important to avoid cold, dry weather as much as possible. If you must go outside, make sure that you can easily get back inside as much as possible. You may even wish to wear a covering over your nose and mouth before going outside.
If you are noticing any changes in your asthma or you have questions about living with asthma, an allergist and asthma specialist can provide you with the answers and specialized care you need. Schedule an appointment today and have someone on your team that can help you get your asthma under control.