Can The Weather Affect My Child’s Asthma
Yes. Weather conditions can bring on asthma symptoms. Some kids’ asthma symptoms get worse at certain times of the year. For others, a severe storm or sudden weather change can trigger a flare-up.
Hot, humid air also can be a problem. In some places, heat and sunlight combine with pollutants to create ground-level ozone. This kind of ozone can be a strong asthma trigger.
Wet weather and windy weather can cause problems too. Wet weather encourages mold growth, and wind can blow mold and pollen through the air.
If you think weather plays a role in your child’s asthma, keep a diary of asthma symptoms and possible triggers and discuss them with your doctor. If pollen, mold, or other allergens make asthma symptoms worse, ask about allergy testing.
Why Does Cold Air Trigger Asthma
Cold air holds less water than warm air. So, cold air tends to be drier than warm air. 2 So, not only can it cool airways, but it can also dry them. Its this combination of cooling and drying of airways that is suspected of triggering asthma symptoms.
Our normal body temperature is 98.7°F. Airway cells, like all cells, contain a certain amount of fluid. This is needed so they can do their work. 3 Cells lining airway are also covered by a layer of fluid.4 So, this is the normal state of things inside your airways. Your body is constantly making efforts to maintain this state of normalcy.
Inside your nose are turbinates. These are bony-like protrusions on either side of your nasal passages. These act as natural heaters and humidifiers. They warm and humidify air you inhale to body temperature. So, your nose has a significant job in maintaining normalcy inside your lungs. 5
Its easy for your nose to keep up when inhaled air is warm. But, when the air gets cold, they have a hard time keeping up. Fluid lining airways is absorbed to humidify cold air. Likewise, cells lining airways also have to get involved. They have to give up some of their moisture to humidify this air. They also have to give up some of their heat. So, inhaling cold air both cools and dries airways. 4
This can happen if the air gets cold enough. It can happen in freezing temperatures. Although this effect is exacerbated when youre exercising in colder temperatures.
Cold Weather And Asthma
Cold weather is a common trigger for asthma symptoms.
There are things you can do to help control your symptoms in the cold:
- carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times and keep taking your regular preventer inhaler as prescribed
- if you need to use your inhaler more than usual, speak to your doctor about reviewing your treatment
- keep warm and dry wear gloves, a scarf and a hat, and carry an umbrella
- wrap a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth this will help warm up the air before you breathe it
- try breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth your nose warms the air as you breathe
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Is Asthma Triggered By Cold Air
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. For many people with asthma, its the dryness in cold air that can lead to breathing problems. Cold air accompanied by windy conditions can also trigger symptoms. In general, the more severe your asthma is, the more likely cold air is to affect you.
Follow Your Asthma Action Plan
Together with your doctor, develop or update your personal written asthma action plan with instructions on how to manage your asthma over winter. A written asthma action plan helps you recognise worsening asthma and tells you what to do in response. Acting quickly can help prevent a mild flare-up from developing into a serious attack.
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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 you’re entitled to help with your prescription charges.
Why Humidity And Cold Air Trigger Asthma
Every asthmatic should be aware that both humidity and cold air are two very common asthma triggers. So why is this? What can you do about it?
Its been common wisdom for years that a cool mist humidifier helps with croup, inflammation and narrowing of a childs airways. Put a croupy kid in the hot and steamy bathroom and the swelling gets better.
Another method that often works for croup is taking the child outside in the cold winter air. This is why many times when a parent decides to take the child to the hospital, in the dead of winter, the child is fine by the time they arrive in the emergency room.
This is true for croup, so it was also theorized in past decades that it must also be true for asthma attacks. Most doctors are aware of this fallacy. In fact, doctors recognize that both cold air and humidity can actually trigger an asthma attack.
When I was little boy way back in the 1970s, my pediatrician recommended my parents have me sit in the hot steamy bathroom when I was having trouble breathing. It was also recommended I have a humidifier in my room.
Both of these made my asthma worse, not better. Yet I was a kid, so how was I to tell my parents that? My doctor and parents thought they were doing something good, yet their wisdom was flawed .
I wrote a post before how low and high humidity can trigger asthma. Studies show that a humidity of 50 percent or greater may lead to a greater incidence of asthma trouble.
Two common theories for this are:
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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.
Holiday Hazards And Winter Watch
CHEMICALS AND FRAGRANCE:
Aggressively cleaned destinations, including your own home
Scented candles and incense
Liberal use of perfume
Heavy winds and extreme temperatures
Outdoor exercise, including winter sports like skiing, ice hockey or snow-tubing
Artificial trees and decorations brought out of long-term storage
Upholstered furniture, carpeting and bedding
Real trees and greenery, which can hold mold spores
Poorly sealed windows or inadequately maintained heating systemsâthese can impact condensation and humidity levels in your home
Water spots, stains or leaksâthese can be a sign of indoor mold growth
The furry and feathered friends of your holiday hosts
Pet-friendly hotel rooms
The so-called âThanksgiving Effect,â which describes a sudden allergy to a pet you were otherwise used to
Tobacco- and cigar-filled parties and events
Hotel rooms within or near a smoking block
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Why Does My Asthma Get Worse In Winter
Home& gt& gtWhy does my asthma get worse in winter?
We understand the management of your asthma can be challenging and sometimes complicated. We also know winter can be a difficult, tiring, and frustrating season for people with asthma. But having good asthma control means fewer asthma flare-ups, doctor visits, time off work, and hospitalisations.
So, as we head into winter, here are five actions you can take to help be asthma-ready for winter.
For Those With Bronchial Issues Here Are Tips To Protect Yourself During Cold Weather
Each year, asthma and the accompanying shortness of breath, chest tightness, fatigue, coughing, and wheezing sends an estimated 9.8 million people to the doctors office for relief and accounts for 1.8 million emergency department visits.
Winter can be especially challenging for people with asthma. Thats because seasonal triggers like indoor allergens and dry, cold air make it hard to keep asthma under control.
Here, Dr. Stephen Canfield, an allergist/immunologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, shares his insights on the challenges winter poses and best tips for keeping asthma symptoms at bay.
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Stay Up To Date With Vaccinations
Vaccinations are a proven way to prevent the spread of some diseases.
The annual flu vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of getting influenza.
You should have the flu vaccination each year because the influenza virus is always changing.
While flu circulates in the community all year, it has traditionally reached a peak from June to September, so many vaccination programs start from mid-April.
This year many people will be getting their COVID-19 vaccination, as a protection against the virus causing the global pandemic.
If you are planning to get both vaccinations, Australian officials recommend waiting 14 days between the flu vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination.
Stay up to date with the latest in asthma health and prevention tips. Check back here on the website regularly as we have new content frequently.
Childhood Vs Adult Symptoms
Children and adults generally have similar symptoms. But, identifying asthma symptoms in children can be more difficult, especially in younger children who may not be able to tell you how they are feeling.
Here are some things to watch for in your child that could indicate asthma:
- Not being able to keep up with other children while running around
- Having a hard time catching their breath or breathing faster than other children who are doing the same thing
- Looks like they have a cold, which could actually be asthma
- Coughing, especially at night
- Feel restless, irritable and/or very tired
What to do:
STEP 1: Immediately use a fast-acting reliever inhaler . Use a spacer if provided.STEP 2: Check your symptoms. If they are gone, you can go back to your normal activities. If they symptoms get worse or do not improve within 10 minutes, this is an emergency. Follow the steps below.
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Have An Asthma Review
Make sure you are asthma-ready with a review.
We recommend seeing your doctor every six months to a year, depending on your level of asthma control.
If you are pregnant, the Australian Asthma Handbook suggests you should have your asthma reviewed by your doctor every four weeks.
An asthma review should also be organised for within three days with your doctor if you have been to the emergency department or been hospitalised for your asthma and again 2-4 weeks later.
During your asthma review ask your doctor to check your asthma control, lung function, review any risk factors, discuss your preventer and reliever medications, check your asthma device technique, and talk about your triggers.
You and your doctor can also review your written Asthma Action Plan together.
Asthma And High Elevation Activity
My boys wanted to go snowboarding and in the back of my head, I kept thinking, What about my asthma? We loaded our car and went on a fun mountain vacation. Once we arrived at our mountain destination and started unloading the car, it seemed everyone was breathing harder. My boys asked me why they were breathing hard and I explained that at high elevations , we experience hyperventilation.
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Best Climate For Asthma
Asthma sufferers often wonder if there is a best climate to better live with their asthma. Depending on whom you talk to, the answer will vary. But there are things to keep in mind when looking for a new home, if youre already planning to move, since most doctors will recommend hat moving for your asthma is generally a bad idea.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Tips To Avoid Cold Air
To protect yourself from asthma flare-ups due to chilly weather, Wedner offers these suggestions:
- Cover your face: Drape a scarf across your mouth and nose, or wear a winter face mask that covers the bottom half of your face.
- Exercise indoors. Work out at a gym or inside your home, or walk laps inside a mall.
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Bring Your Inhaler With You
This goes without saying, but many folks forget theirs, especially when it starts to get nicer in early spring.
Carrying your rescue inhaler is recommended, and for those that are on maintenance inhalers, taking them as prescribed and practicing proper inhaler technique is necessary to get the most out of your inhaler, says Dr. Lan. If you feel your inhaler is not working and you have not been taught how to properly use your inhaler, ask your medical provider or pharmacist to show you how to use it.
Wet And Windy Weather Conditions:
Wet and windy weather can often cause problems for asthma sufferers.
Wet weather encourages mould growth and if it is also windy, this mould is blown through the air. If a person with asthma breathes in airborne mould, it will often triggers their asthma symptoms.
If you know wind and rain triggers your asthma, make sure to always keep an eye on the weather forecast. Try to stay inside during particularly bad days with the windows closed and keep your reliever inhaler close at all times.
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Update Your Asthma Action Plan
Your written Asthma Action Plan is your guide to daily living with asthma.
It sets out clearly what you need to do when you are feeling well, what to do when you start to experience symptoms and if they worsen, and what to do as those symptoms ease.
A written Asthma Action Plan also includes emergency information that is critical for schools and other care facilities.
It is an important document easy to prepare with your doctor but many adults with asthma dont have one.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found only about one in four people with asthma over 15 years had an Asthma Action Plan.
Ahead of this winter, go and get one.
Why Does Cold Weather Make Asthma Worse
There are a few reasons why cold weather may contribute to the worsening of asthma symptoms. When individuals with asthma exercise in cold weather, they are not able to warm their breath effectively before it reaches their lungs. Because the body automatically keeps the interior organs at a warm temperature, it can shock the lungs to rapidly breathe very cold winter air. In response to the cold air, the lungs become inflamed, which can lead to an asthma attack.
In addition to the shock that cold air causes to the lungs, it can also cause airway dryness. Cold winter air is often very dry, which can cause irritation to even healthy lungs. Because asthmatics already have weaker lungs, the dry air affects them even more severely and can result in severe asthma attacks or prolonged, uncomfortable breathing.
Cold weather also brings the flu and sniffles along with it, which can exacerbate asthma symptoms and make the winter months absolutely miserable for those who suffer from asthma. If asthmatic individuals properly prepare for the cold weather, they can more effectively manage their asthma symptoms and improve their quality of life during the cold winter months.
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How To Stay In Control
If youâve been prescribed medications, use them consistently. Make sure your meds are well-stocked and not expiredâespecially when traveling.
Know your âpersonal bestâ peak flow number and continue to use your meter regularly. This will help you detect changes before symptoms worsen, and help your physician determine how to best treat you.
Follow typical prevention steps: wash your hands, stay away from people who appear to be sick and get the flu shot
Because there is such a close connection between GERD and asthma,be mindful of your holiday dietary changes. If your reflux symptoms persist, connect with a physician to see if you would benefit from prescription treatment.
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