Consider Moving Your Workout Indoors
If you normally exercise outdoors, consider switching your routine. And if you cant resist that jog around the park, head out during the warmest part of the day.
Whats more, If you have exercise-induced asthma, your doctor may prescribe an inhaled bronchodilator that contains , that you will use about 30 minutes before exercising outside, Dr. Berger says. Those symptoms can be even worse when you work out in cold air.
Spending More Time Inside Can Trigger Asthma
Cold air can trigger an asthma attack, so many people with asthma avoid going outside in the winter. But indoor air isnt necessarily better. Indoor air can be filled with dust, dander, and mold that can cause asthma attacks, too.
Indoor air is often warm and dry, and central heating systems circulate cold and flu viruses through offices and schools. Dry air irritates your airways, leaving you susceptible to an asthma attack.
Your body naturally produces mucus to line and protect your sinuses, throat, lungs, and more from drying out. It keeps your airways moist, but dry air can make it evaporate quickly and lead to irritation. Once your airways are inflamed, they swell up and make it hard to breathe.
Advice For Friends And Family
It’s important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.
Make copies of your personal asthma action plan. Share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.
You can photocopy your existing plan. You can also download a blank personal asthma action plan from the Asthma Society of Ireland and fill it in.
You could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others.
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Tips To Help Prevent Cold Weather Asthma
Even though it can be challenging during winter for those with asthma, here are a few things that you can do as a parent to help your child enjoy this time of year.
1. Bundle Up
If possible, dont let your child go outside if the temperature drops below 10° F. If they have to go outside, be sure they wear warm, weather-appropriate clothing. One thing that should also be considered is wearing a scarf or fabric mask over the face. Wearing one of these over the mouth and nose can help prevent cold-weather asthma by warming the air before it reaches the lungs.
2. Use your inhaler
If your child plans on exercising or playing outside in the cold weather,ask your healthcare professional about having them use their inhaler 15-30 minutes before they go outside. This will open their airways, making it easier for them to breathe in the cold air.
Also, be sure to have their inhaler nearby while they are outside. Even though they took their inhaler ahead of time, they could still experience an asthma attack from extreme cold. Either have them keep it in their pocket if theyre responsible, or hold onto it yourself and monitor their activity.
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 Can You Do If Youre Having An Asthma Attack
If you start to wheeze or feel short of breath, refer to the asthma action plan you wrote up with your doctor.
If your symptoms are so severe that you cant speak, take your quick-acting medicine and seek immediate medical attention. You may need to stay under observation until your breathing stabilizes.
Here are some other general guidelines for what to do if you have an asthma attack:
- Take two to six puffs from a quick-acting rescue inhaler. The medicine should open up your airways and help you breathe easier.
- You may also be able to use a nebulizer instead of an inhaler. A nebulizer is a machine that turns your medicine into a fine mist that you breathe in.
- If your symptoms arent severe but they dont improve with the first few puffs from your inhaler, wait 20 minutes and then take another dose.
- Once you feel better, call your doctor. You may need to keep taking your quick-acting medicine every few hours for a day or two.
Impact Of Cold Air On Asthma
For people with asthma, cold air and the winter season can be a source of worry and stress, not knowing how and if they may be able to breathe properly over winter.
Exposure to cold air can bring on asthma symptoms. This can be problematic for people with asthma and interfere with their quality of life, interrupting planned activities over the winter.
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How Do I Maintain An A/c Unit
Air conditioners are not effective if the filter is not replaced or maintained as recommended by the manufacturer. Heating and cooling specialists say they often find that filters are filthy. When this happens, they can become breeding grounds for air contaminants, such as mold spores. When this happens they can actually increase airborne contaminants. So, its essential that asthmatics properly maintain filters.2
The authors highly recommend whole house filtration systems. This is best accomplished with central heating and cooling systems as opposed to the kind you put in windows.2
When the filter is properly maintained or replaced, these units are very effective at minimizing airborne asthma triggers. So, they are effective at minimizing the risk for asthma symptoms.2 A/Cs also make it so you can keep doors and windows shut. This can also help to keep outdoor air pollutants outside.3
How Cold Air Affects Asthma
A winter wind whips your face. What do you do? Probably squint and tear up because cold air dries out and irritates the delicate tissue of the eyes.
Asthmatics can have a similar reaction in their lungs, one that literally takes their breath away. Cold, dry air irritates hypersensitive lungs that have become inflamed, causing bronchospasm.
The muscles around the irritated bronchial tubes constrict and become even more narrow, making it difficult to breathe. An increase of mucus in the lungs also limits breathing, resulting in wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.
Dr. Mark Greenwald, a Toronto allergist, notes that even non-asthmatics can feel their breath catch in a frosty gust on extremely cold, dry days. Thats what the asthmatic feels, but its triggered much easier and by air thats not as cold. He reminds, however, that with proper treatment, the asthmatic should be able to do everything the non-asthmatic can. Be very aggressive with your asthma control, he says.
What should you do about cold air and asthma?
- You dont want to stay inside all winter: if you are experiencing symptoms from the cold, speak to your doctor soon about altering your medication plan.
- Wear a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth and breathe through your nose to warm and humidify the air you breathe.
- Keep your inhalers close to your body, since warm medication is more easily distributed into the respiratory system.
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How Can You Tell The Difference Between Covid
Cold and flu season is here, and the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is still spreading. With every cough or sniffle, you may wonder if its asthma or allergies, the flu, the common cold or even COVID-19. But how can you tell the difference?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has created a respiratory symptoms chart to help you recognize the difference between these conditions.
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Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
Signs that you may be having an asthma attack include:
- your symptoms are getting worse
- your reliever inhaler isn’t helping
- you’re too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
- your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you can’t catch your breath
- your peak flow score is lower than normal
The symptoms will not necessarily occur suddenly. In fact, they often come on slowly over a few hours or days.
Children may also complain of a tummy or chest ache
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Top Triggers For Winter Allergies Including Asthma
Winter allergies, too, can trigger asthma. Here are some of the most common triggers of winter allergies that can worsen your asthma.
- Pet dander
New research reveals that anxiety can aggravate asthma. Anxiety is characterized as having a fear of fear. Managing asthma can be much more difficult for those who also have anxiety, according to the recent study. The research comes from the University of Cincinnati. Continue reading
A recent Mayo Clinic study suggests that taking less asthma medication can be done safely and cost effectively if patients follow guidelines. Doctors commonly scale down asthma medication prescriptions due to how costly they can be, but knowing when to begin cutting back can be challenging and the risks need to be better understood. Continue reading
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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Tips To Avoid Asthma Attacks In Cold Weather
Managing asthma attacks is an important part of staying healthy all year long. But as the temperature dips, asthma attacks may become more common.
The winter brings colder weather and we spend more time indoors, which can increase the risk of an asthma attack, explains Vikas Pathak, M.D., an interventional pulmonologist with Riverside Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists.
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to limit asthma flares in the winter months.
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Why Does Cold Weather Make My Asthma Worse
When its cold, the air is colder and drier
Breathing in dry, cold air irritates your airways. Your lungs then react to this by becoming tighter and this makes it more difficult to breathe.
Our bodies are designed to respond to changes in air temperature. However, some people are more sensitive to changes in temperature and may have a stronger reaction, which includes asthma symptoms that are set off by cold air. The good news is, your asthma is less likely to be triggered by cold weather if its well controlled.
You can also help yourself by trying to breathe through your nose more, rather than just your mouth. This is because when you breathe through your nose, cold air is warmed up by passing through your nose, throat and then your upper airways. If you just breathe through your mouth, this warming up process doesnt happen, which means the cold air dries out the moisture in your lungs.
Cold air makes you produce more mucus
When its cold, you might produce more mucus than you normally would.
This is because when cold air enters your nose, the vessels in your nasal cavity get bigger and congested, which causes more mucus to be produced. This extra mucus is produced because your body is trying to create perfect conditions, by adding warmth and humidity, while also filtering the air thats going into your body. This extra mucus is why you can get a runny nose in winter.
Cold weather brings colds and flu
Cold weather forces us indoors
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Do A/cs Create A Better Breathing Environment
The general consensus of experts is probably Yes they do! As noted above, they work great for filtering airborne asthma triggers. They are also great at reducing humidity. The hotter the air the more water it holds. So, during the dog days of summer, the heat and humidity can trigger asthma symptoms. There are a variety of reasons for this.
Hot, sticky, air can feel thick and hard to inhale. This alone may trigger asthma in some. Another reason is that hot and humid air creates a breeding ground for some asthma triggers. Both mold spores and dust mites love this environment.
Mold can grow in this environment without you even being aware of it. And it releases mold spores into the air. They can trigger asthma. Dust mites can also rapidly multiply in this environment. Dust mites and their feces are easily aerosolized and inhaled. They may trigger asthma.
A/Cs work great for both cooling air and at the same time reducing indoor humidity. Most experts recommend that indoor humidity be kept between 30% and 50%. This is ideal for anyone living with chronic lung disease.4
How Caffeine Can Affect Asthma
In 2010, I started writing about asthmas history. This was when I was introduced to Dr. Henry Hyde Salter. He was the doctor of Teddy Roosevelt during the 1870s when the former President was a child asthmatic. He wrote a book called, On Asthma. It was the most well-respected book on asthma during the second half of the 19th century. So, whatever Dr. Salter believed about asthma became the gold standard.1
He had many hypotheses about asthma, the most famous of which was that asthma was a nervous disorder. He also believed that asthma was brought on by sleep. He had already heard about caffeine as an asthma remedy from his many asthma patients. He speculated that it worked for asthma because of its stimulant effect. He wrote:1
For, what are the physiological effects of coffee? They consist in the production of a state of mental activity and vivacity, of acuteness of perception and energy of volition, well known to those who have experienced it, and to a certain extent very pleasurable, and which is the very reverse of that abeyance of will and perception which, in drowsiness or sleep, so favors the development of asthma.
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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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Can Cold Air Cause An Asthma Attack
If your asthma is severe and cold air is a trigger, then you are at risk for an asthma attack in cold weather. Consult your Asthma Action Plan to manage asthma in cold weather. You should always seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.
To keep cold air from causing an asthma flare:
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Tips For Maintaining Asthma Control During The Hot Summer Months
Planning ahead is the key to maintaining asthma control in the fact of hot, humid or hot, dry weather. Here are a few tips that can make a difference:
- Stay indoors as much as you can, where environmental conditions are more steady, especially if you have air conditioning. Try to limit outdoor times to early morning or after sunset, when temperatures are often more moderate.
- Watch the pollen and mold levels by checking local weather forecasts or using websites such as pollen.com. Stay indoors as much as you can when levels are high.
- Take your asthma and allergy medication as prescribed, including keeping your quick-relief inhaler on hand at all times.
- Drink plenty of cool water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Keep your Asthma Action Plan updated so you can respond to any slip in asthma control promptly.
With a little care and planning, you can prevent heat from becoming a significant factor when managing your asthma.
How To Reduce The Spread Of Covid
What can you do to reduce your chances of getting sick? To stop the spread of coronavirus, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, wear a face mask, keep a physical distance from other people, limit your trips away from home, and increase air flow in your indoor environment. The good news is these same steps can also reduce the spread of the flu, colds and other types of respiratory illnesses.
If you have asthma, keeping your asthma under control can reduce your chances of having a severe asthma episode or attack if you get sick.
If you do get sick, get plenty of rest, drink water and follow your Asthma Action Plan if you have asthma. Reduce your chance of spreading illness to others by limiting contact, washing your hands often and wearing a face mask or covering.
Always contact your doctor about any severe or concerning symptoms, no matter what. And go to the emergency department or call 911 for emergency signs and symptoms.
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