Thunderstorms And Extreme Weather Can Be A Threat To Asthma Control
In hot summer conditions, extreme weather such as thunderstorms become more prevalent. Experts arent entirely sure why but have identified that such weather conditions can trigger asthma attacks, sometimes severe.
It may be the airflow patterns during thunderstorms that cause this effect, rather than electrical activity such as thunder and lightning. It seems likely that these airflow patterns could result in more concentrated levels of pollen and mold, which could be one explanation for the increase in asthma attacks during thunderstorms.
Regardless of the reason, extreme weather definitely has had an impact on some of us asthmatics.
What Causes Asthma Symptoms To Flare Up
Asthma symptom triggers may not be the same for every person who suffers from the disease, but common triggers include:
- Air pollution
- Stress & Anxiety
Once you recognize the factors that trigger your asthma symptoms, it is important to avoid them whenever possible. If you live in an area that is full of environmental pollutants, you may want to consider the possibility of moving to an area with cleaner air. Additionally, consider getting an air purifier for your home, as they can help cleanse the air of potential environmental triggers associated with asthma.
If you currently smoke, you should do everything you can to stop the habit before it makes your asthma symptoms even worse. If you want to learn how to live a life with less asthma flair-ups, you should do everything you can to avoid your personal triggers and take the necessary medication to manage your symptoms.
Excess Hot In The Body Dehydration And Asthma:
Dehydration and asthma connection is a big medical mystery. Research today seeks to uncover some of the mystery around the illness. 75 percent of the population has some degree of dehydration, significant enough to affect their health. Asthma attacks are often linked to airborne allergens, respiratory infections, exercise, cold air that enters the lungs, stress, and acid reflux gastroesophageal reflux disease.
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How Does Cold Weather Trigger Asthma Symptoms
When someone with asthma breathes in cold, dry air, it can make the muscles inside start to spasm while also trying to keep airways open. This further irritates the lining of the airways and causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath . Cold air can trigger asthma symptoms and flare-ups, especially when theres dryness in cold air.
What Types Of Treatments May Be Given For Uncontrolled Asthma Symptoms
When asthma is at its worst, you may have additional symptoms such as feeling anxious, having an increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
You may be given treatments such as oxygen therapy and bronchodilators. These are medicines that help you breathe easier and open up your airways. You may also be given steroids to help get the inflammation in your airways under control.
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How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms
Monitoring your asthma symptoms is an essential piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may have you use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.
Are You Drinking Cold Water From The Fridge This Summer Don’t You Have Been Warned
Written by Poorva Chavan | Updated : May 12, 2017 3:31 PM IST
Summer is here and most of us are guilty of coming home and directly heading towards the fridge for some cold water as a relief from the scorching heat outside. Even though ice has many health benefits, drinking ice water or cold water can only give temporary relief and drinking ice water regularly has its downside.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t drink ice or cold water:
1. Interferes with your digestion: Drinking ice water or cold water hampers the process of digesting food as it causes your blood vessels to shrink. This can slow down the process of digestion and as the food is not digested properly, the nutrients are lost or not absorbed by the body. You may like to read about home remedies for better digestion
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How To Manage Asthma Symptoms During Winter
Although there is nothing you can do to completely get rid of your asthma symptoms during cold weather, there are plenty of things you can do to minimize your symptoms and make life more enjoyable. Here are a few things you should plan on doing this winter season if you want to avoid being miserable until next spring.
- Exercise indoors instead of outdoors.
- Take your asthma medication 10 15 minutes before you leave the house or exercise.
- Bundle up appropriately for cold weather, even if you are only planning to be outside for a few minutes.
- Try to keep the nasal passages clear with irrigation, saline spray or decongestants.
- Stay indoors on particularly symptomatic days or when the weather is extremely dry and cold.
- Always keep an emergency inhaler with you.
- Wear a scarf over your nose and mouth when you are outdoors.
If you do all of these things, you give yourself a better opportunity at managing your asthma symptoms and enjoying the winter season like you should.
Paying For Your Medicines
Most adults with asthma will need to pay a prescription charge for their medicines.
If you need to take a lot of medicines, paying for each item individually could get quite expensive. You may find it cheaper to get a prescription prepayment certificate. This is where you pay a one-off charge for all your prescriptions over a 3- or 12-month period.
You will not need to pay for your medicines if you do not normally pay prescription charges. For example, all under-16s are entitled to free prescriptions.
Read more about prescription costs to find out if youre entitled to help with your prescription charges.
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What Are Some Tips On Preventing Asthma Attacks Triggered By Cold Weather
If you have asthma, you already know prevention is your best strategy. Go back to the basics:
Drink a lot of water, broth-based soups and decaffeinated tea to keep yourself hydrated.
Wash your hands often in soap and water to prevent respiratory illnesses such as the cold and flu.
Dress warmly when you go out. Keep a scarf, gloves and extra jacket in your car just in case.
Breathe through your nose when youre outside. Your nasal passages warm the air before it moves into your lungs.
Get the flu vaccine, which will lower your risk of getting this years flu.
Carry your inhaler with you all the time.
Find alternative ways to exercise if you usually exercise outdoors. Make sure the place where you exercise has good air circulation.
If you have an indoor fireplace, try to keep it empty when not in use. Avoid outdoor firepits, or sit at a comfortable distance.
Use a humidifier indoors, especially at night when you sleep.
Keep up with your daily asthma medications and refilling them, and do not skip doses.
If you know youre prone to winter month attacks, make a plan with your doctor.
If you do have an asthma attack, follow your asthma action care plan you and your provider discussed to get your symptoms under control.
Eat Well Stay Active And Avoid Alcohol
Make sure to eat at least one warm meal every day. And have plenty of hot drinks like tea, coffee or herbal tea.
But don’t reach for the brandy. You might think it’s keeping you warm, but this isn’t the case.
“Alcohol clouds your judgement and increases the feeling of warmth even though your body temperature is actually low. This can cause you to underestimate how cold you are and how much strain this is putting on your heart and the rest of your body,” says Gall.
Getting some light exercise can also keep you warm. Reducing the amount of time you spend sitting down at least can really make a difference. But don’t overexert yourself.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Cold Urticaria
- Itchy, red skin and welts on skin that has been exposed to cold.
- Reaction worsens when the skin warms up after its removed from the cold.
- Swelling of lips when eating or drinking something cold
- Swelling of hands when holding something cold
- Swelling of the tongue or throat
In severe cases, there is a whole-body response that includes fainting, swelling, a racing heart and shock. This can happen when theres full skin exposure, such as bathing or swimming in cold water.
If you experience red, splotchy skin and welts after exposure to cold, seek out a diagnosis from a board-certified allergist or dermatologist.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cold
There are several factors that may manifest when you have cold-induced asthma. These symptoms typically develop shortly after you are exposed to cold surroundings. The good news is that the symptoms will just go away once you reach a warmer environment. Here are some of the symptoms of cold-induced asthma you should look out for:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
These symptoms may just go away when proper medications are taken. However, individuals with more severe asthma may experience long-lasting symptoms.
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Cold Water Induced Asthma
Besides chlorine, cold water can be a great risk for swimmers who suffer from asthma. Swimming with asthma cough in cold water can actually make their asthma worse and should be therefore avoided.
Experts suggest that asthma sufferers who love swimming can continue the activity by using a wetsuit before they enter the cold water pool.
If possible try to swim only in the pools which have water with a normal temperature of 25°C-30°C.
Also, do not forget to take your inhalers before immersing yourself in the water. All these will help to avoid swimming exercise-induced asthma getting triggered.
Care that, swimming in itself is not a suggested cure for asthma. It can only help in making you feel better and living an easy life with asthma.
If you have not ever tried swimming before, consult with your doctor before planning to start.
In Summary How Do I Handle Extreme Temperatures
The right balance in core body temperature of between 36 oC and 38 oC is essential for helping to balance the lung functionality. Once the temperature drops below or above these core temperatures, then it may result in coughing as the body tries to remove the irritants which are causing the airway walls to become dried out and agitated. Sadly, this is either the hot dry air, or the cold dry air which we are breathing, and it may result in consistent coughing.
The best way to handle this to breath through the nose and/or have a barrier like a clothing which can help hydrate and heat or cool the air before it enters the lungs.
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Humid Air Is Heavy And Harder To Breathe In
Have you ever felt that it is harder to breathe when atmospheric conditions are hot and humid? A study published a few years ago found that humid air actually increases airway inflammation and causes airways to narrow.4
Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT, here at Asthma.net states:
If youve ever exercised on a hot, summer day you know that it seems harder to breathe. Add some humidity to the scenario, and breathing is even more difficult. These very same conditions seem to create much more difficulty for those with asthma. It is not entirely clear as to why the heat and humidity affect asthmatics the way they do. Quite simply, hot, humid air is heavier than normal air and so, is more difficult to breathe. These conditions create a chain reaction of events that can raise the body temperature, increase sweating and possibly dehydration, and cause you to breathe at a faster rate. When a person with asthma is having difficulty breathing , these conditions can easily exacerbate asthma symptoms, even without actually causing them.
Besides the effect that breathing warm air, especially warm, humid air can have on your ability to breathe, there are other factors to consider. Hot, moist air creates the perfect breeding ground for mold growth and dispersal of mold spores into the air. Its also a great environment for dust mite growth. These are two of the main allergens for people who have allergic asthma.
Practice The Wim Hof Method
The Wim Hof Method is a powerful method, developed by âIcemanâ Wim Hof.You can learn more about Wimâs incredible story by watching the documentaries âVice: Wim Hof the Icemanâ and âDiscovery Channel: Wim Hof – Superhuman’.His method enabled Wim to accomplish a number of extraordinary feats, and as Wim discovered the powerful effects of the method, he decided to share its principles with the rest of the world.
Starting to practice the Wim Hof Method is as easy as signing up for our online Fundamentals video course. During the videos,Wim will teach you everything there is to know about his method. You can watch these videos at your own pace, so incorporating the exercisesinto your daily routine is easy. Many thousands of people have already made the Wim Hof Method part of their lives, and benefit from it on a daily basis.You now canwatch some of their personal stories on our website.
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Why Does Cold Weather Affect Heart Health
But why does temperature make a difference when it comes to cardiovascular health? GP Dr Diana Gall from Doctor4u explains that in cold weather, your ticker has to work harder than normal.
“In cold weather, the blood vessels constrict, forcing your heart to work harder. This pressure on the heart can in some cases lead to a heart attack,” she says.
One way your body responds to cold temperatures in order to protect itself and retain heat is by constricting the blood vessels near the surface of the skin. When this happens, blood flow is reduced to these vessels, which means more pressure in the rest of the system. This in turn means the heart has to work harder than usual to get oxygenated blood around the body.
“This raises blood pressure and increases the chances of blood clots forming, both of which are factors in heart attacks and strokes,” adds Gall.
Other factors, including variations in hormones, and increased numbers and stickiness of platelets, which help our blood to clot, also come into play.
This is what cold weather does to your heart
Sinusitis And Other Upper Respiratory Infections
Much like asthma causes inflammation in the lining of your airways, sinusitis causes inflammation in the mucus membranes that line your sinuses. This makes the membranes put out more mucus. If you have asthma and your sinuses get inflamed, your airways may too. Prompt treatment of a sinus infection can relieve asthma symptoms.
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Inflammation And Your Lungs
A garden-variety cold is caused by any one of over 200 viral strains, the most common of which are rhinoviruses, followed by coronaviruses, influenza viruses, adenoviruses, and respiratory syncytial virus .
When a respiratory infection occurs, the immune system responds by releasing cytokines that draw defensive white blood cells to the site of the infection.
Many of these cytokinesmost especially interleukin types 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 13are responsible for triggering airway hyper-responsiveness and bronchoconstriction in people with asthma. In essence, the inflammation caused by a cold can “spill over” to the lower respiratory tract and instigate an attack.
Research also suggests that antigens on certain respiratory viruses can trigger an allergic response in people with asthma. Antigens are the proteins of the surface of cells that the immune system reacts to. In some cases, the antigen will spur allergic inflammation that only adds to the burden of viral inflammation.
Although viral-induced asthma has long been considered separate from allergic asthma, evidence suggests that viral-induced asthma can affect people with allergic and non-allergic forms of the disease, including exercise-induced asthma and eosinophilic asthma.
This dual source of inflammation may explain why certain people are more prone to viral-induced asthma than others.
Identify And Avoid Your Triggers
Its important to identify possible asthma triggers by making a note of where you are and what youre doing when your symptoms get worse.
Some triggers can be hard to avoid, but it may be possible to avoid some, such as dust mites, pet fur and some medicines.
Youll have regular contact with your doctor or asthma nurse to monitor your condition.
These appointments may involve:
- talking about your symptoms for example, if theyre affecting your normal activities or are getting worse
- a discussion about your medicines including if you think you might be experiencing any side effects and if you need to be reminded how to use your inhaler
- breathing tests
Its also a good chance to ask any questions you have or raise any other issues you want to discuss.
You may be asked to help monitor your condition between appointments. For example, you may be advised to check your peak flow if you think your symptoms may be getting worse.
Your personal action plan should say what to do if your symptoms get gradually or suddenly worse. Contact your doctor or asthma nurse if youre not sure what to do.
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