Do you find yourself especially short of breath during the winter? Or perhaps you reach for your inhaler more often? That’s because a number of things that can worsen asthma come together during the cold months.
Our experts at Northwest Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois,
want you to enjoy nice, deep breaths all year round, even when it’s cold outside. We’ve put together this list of tips for managing your asthma symptoms during the winter.
Not everyone with asthma is triggered by cold weather, but some definitely are. If you don’t know your triggers already, it’s a good time to investigate. You may want to keep a journal and note when you have an asthma attack.
For some, cold air triggers a response in the bronchial tubes. In that situation, cold air irritates the lining of your airways and kicks off an asthma attack.
If cold air is a trigger for you, you probably notice more flare-ups during the winter. The fact that the air is also drier during the winter can worsen the situation. Typically, the more severe your asthma, the more likely it is cold air will trigger your symptoms.
When it’s cold out, we tend to spend more time inside. But, for people with asthma, that can mean more exposure to indoor triggers like dust mites and mold.
If you have indoor allergies, you may want to make sure you’re using HEPA filters to cut down the number of allergens floating around in the air. You may also want to get some dust mite covers for your pillows and mattress, and vacuum more frequently.
Make sure your clothes fit the season. Keeping your body warm can help reduce your likelihood of having an asthma attack. It’s a smart move to bundle up if you’re going to be outside when it’s cold. Wear a coat, gloves, and hat!
If you can cover your mouth and nose with a scarf, it helps warm the air you breathe. Warmer air going into your lungs means less chance of irritating your airways with cold, dry air.
Similarly, breathing through your nose warms the air more as it passes through to your lungs. When you breathe through your mouth, the cold air rushes right into your lungs, increasing the possibility of an asthma attack.
Using indoor heat can dry out the air, increasing the irritation to your airways. If you don’t have one, consider getting a humidifier to add some moisture to the air.
Finally, make sure your asthma management plan is up-to-date for your current condition, and that you have winter strategies in place. We can help you with this step during your regular checkups.
If you have questions about managing your asthma symptoms during the winter, schedule an appointment at Northwest Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine today. We’re always happy to answer your questions, as well as figure out the best strategies for you to keep breathing comfortably.