How Can People With Asthma Better Manage Their Symptoms
You can’t just avoid the outdoors during colder temperatures , so it’s important to learn how to recognize asthma triggers and manage your symptoms. Dr. Goldstein recommends wearing a scarf over your nose and mouth to reduce the amount of cold air you inhale while you’re outside and working with your doctor to determine a treatment plan that will help control your symptoms, including during your workouts.
Dr. Gupta also suggests checking in with your allergist, who may recommend, among other measures, using an inhaler, “which helps decrease the spasms of the bronchials.” She added that air conditioning can take a similar toll on your lungs, and cold air with pollution can increase respiratory symptoms, so it’s important to always be prepared. Stay proactive by carrying your inhaler, limiting exercise in cooler temperatures if it seems to affect your lungs, and talking to your doctor about your specific concerns. With a few precautions, you’ll be able to navigate whatever the forecast brings.
Laughter Or Crying And Asthma
Extreme emotional states like heavy laughter or intense crying can prompt an asthma attack by changing breathing patterns and restricting airflow. Its a form of hyperventilation, which, like exercise, tends to trigger an asthmatic response in people with underlying airway inflammation, Zitt says.
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How Does Cold Weather Affect Asthma
Asthma symptoms can be caused by a myriad of triggers which differ from one person to the next. For some people, the different seasons can affect their asthma, the cold in particular.
When the mercury begins to plunge on the thermometer, outdoor activities may become somewhat of a challenge. Winter temperatures can play havoc with asthma symptoms, and when the cold air hits the lungs, problems can arise.
Heres a closer look at the connection between the cold and asthma, and what you can do to help manage your symptoms in the winter.
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Why Does Cold Air Make Asthma Worse
You would think cooler weather would make breathing easier, and it can sometimes, but it also brings its own challenges. “Cold air can trigger asthma,” Ratika Gupta, MD, a New York-based physician who is board-certified in internal medicine and allergy/immunology, and author of What? I Could be Allergic to That?!, told POPSUGAR.
“The nose and mouth warm the air prior to the air reaching the lungs. In the presence of cold air, it’s harder for the body to warm up the air,” Dr. Gupta explained. “Inhalation of cold air can cause injury to the lining of the airways, which expose nerves. These nerves then cause the airways to be overactive,” which may result in spasms.
Working out in the cold can be especially difficult for those with asthma, because “exposure to cold air can also increase the number of inflammatory cells in the airways,” Dr. Gupta said, causing the airways to become more obstructed. “Also, cold air may decrease the activity of the cilia, which are hair-like structures that help clear pollutants.” Pollutants are never good news for the lungs.
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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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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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 Control Asthma In Cold Weather
Cold weather and asthmacarry 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.More items
How Does Exercising Trigger Asthma
When exercising we breathe in and out rapidly. It gets to the point our turbinates cannot keep up. Making this worse is when we revert to breathing. Many of us breathe through our mouths when exercising. This is because our mouths offer less resistance to inhaled air. Mouth breathing makes breathing easier.
Of course, when youre doing this your nose is bypassed. Cold and dry air cannot be properly warmed and humidified. Airway cells have to work overtime to warm and humidify this inhaled air. Such rapid changes inside cells cause them to release mediators of inflammation, such as histamine and leukotrienes. These mediators cause airway inflammation.
Of course, asthmatic airways are already somewhat inflamed. So, sensory neurons in airway tissue are already sensitized they are already hypersensitive. They respond by causing smooth muscles wrapped around airways to spasm and constrict. This causes airways to become abnormally narrow.4-6
When this happens, its diagnosed as Exercise Induced Asthma . This is something that affects over 80% of asthmatics. 5-7
Exercise can trigger asthma at any time. But, as the air gets colder, this risk increases. There is no set temperature listed in literature where your risk for EIA starts to increase. Based on my own experience with this, I tend to go with 50°F. If its warmer than 50°F I exercise outside if I want. If its less than 50°F I exercise indoors. I work out at home or at the health club.
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Why Does Cold Air Affect Asthma Symptoms
It is well-known that being exposed to cold weather may trigger asthma.
The amount of water vapor in the air is directly related to the temperature of the air. Warm and hot air holds much more water vapor than cold air. In cold weather, water vapor condenses on solid surfaces, leading to the development of frost on the ground and thin sheets of ice on concrete surfaces and pavement. This is because the cold air loses the water vapor it holds to condensation on these hard surfaces. The end result is that cold air is very dry air, having very little water vapor within it.
When someone with asthma goes outdoors in cold weather, their lungs are exposed to not only cold air but very dry air. As the air is inspired into the lungs, it warms. When warmed in the lungs, this air can suddenly hold much more water vapor. Unfortunately, this water vapor comes from the lungs of the person inhaling the cold dry air. The end result for an asthmatic is that the airways lose water to the air which is inspired. This leaves the airways very dry.
With exercise, you breathe in and out much greater quantities of air. For the asthmatic, this breathing in and out of very dry air removes moisture from the lining cells of the lungs, also known as the respiratory epithelial cells. This results in these cells becoming dry and dehydrated.
Does Your Asthma Seem Worse The Colder It Gets Experts Explain Why That Might Happen
When the scorching temperatures of summer begin to fade, it seems like everyone wants to be outside. Picnics in the park, drinks on the patio, morning jogs it all feels so nice! But as those early-fall days give way to crisp or even brutally cold temperatures, you might face another barrier to spending time outdoors, especially during your workouts. Those biting winds can be hard on your lungs! In fact, cold air may actually trigger asthma for those who are prone.
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Tips To Sleep Better With Asthma
Millions of people are affected byor nighttime asthma. Symptoms include a tight chest, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and they make sleep impossible. You end up feeling tired and
Millions of people are affected bynocturnal asthma,Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceor nighttime asthma. Symptoms include a tight chest, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and they make sleep impossible. You end up feeling tired and irritable the next day and have difficulty controlling daytime asthma symptoms.
Asthma symptoms are stronger at night for a few reasons, including higher exposure to dust mites and other allergens. Plus, lying flat on your back increases post-nasal drip, triggering an asthma attack. These two things can make sleeping tough. But dont worrywere here to help. In our article, we share 7 tips to sleep better with asthma so you can get undisturbed shuteye.
How Does Temperature Influence Breathing
The studys principal finding is that the dynamic compliancebreathing frequency relationship is significantly affected by even moderate changes in body temperature. This result indicates that body warming reduces time-constant inhomogeneities and stress relaxation-linked effects in the normal lung parenchyma.
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How Do You Relieve Asthma
Asthma attack: 6 things to do if you do not have an inhaler with you.Sit upright. Stop whatever you are doing and sit upright. Take long, deep breaths. This helps to slow down your breathing and prevent hyperventilation. Stay calm. Get away from the trigger. Take a hot caffeinated beverage. Seek emergency medical help.
How To Manage Asthma During Cold Weather
Many people who have been diagnosed with asthma have an action plan to stick to. This should be used at all times, not just during cold weather or the colder months.
An action plan may be put together with a doctor and will include details about:
- what you can take or use to reduce your risk of asthma symptoms developing and an asthma attack
- what you should do if your asthma gets worse and you develop symptoms
- What to do if youre having an asthma attack
If you have asthma or suspect you have it and dont have a plan, see a doctor.
While you should always be guided by a doctor with any action plan you have, you can also do the following to help you manage your asthma during cold weather.
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Why Does My Asthma Get Worse In Winter
People often find their asthma symptoms get more and more aggravated during winter. There are many reasons for this. It’s likely because of one or more of the following asthma triggers around at this time of year, including:
Cold weather Cold and flu
Open fires and burning stoves wood
Do Air Conditioners Reduce Airborne Asthma Triggers
According to many studies, the answer is yes. However, they only benefit asthmatics if their filters are properly maintained.A 2011 study showed air conditioning reduces the impact of traffic pollution on children with asthma.1
Another 2011 study showed the benefits of central air conditioning on asthma. The article noted that 75% of U.S. households had ducted forced air heat. And 63% had ducted central air conditioning.” The study showed that both of these heating and cooling systems are great for filtering out airborne allergens. Examples include dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and mold spores. They also work great for filtering non-allergic asthma triggers, such as smoke from wood fires, smoke from cigarettes, and various forms of air pollutants.2
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Use Both A Humidifier And An Air Purifier
Dry air can worsen asthma symptoms by irritating the throat and nasal passages, and allergens in the air can cause sneezing and morning congestion. Without humidifiers and air purifiers, youre more likely to wake up with a sore throat or post-nasal drip, since the body overproduces mucus to protect passageways from debris. Investing in a humidifier and air purifier means more moisture in the air and less chance of irritation to the nose and throat.
Talk with a healthcare provider first before buying either of these devices. A humidifier can sometimes increase dust mites in the bedroom because it provides an ideal living environment. Air purifiers do balance those out, but some people, depending on the severity of their asthma, may want to avoid humidifiers entirely.
How To Control Asthma In The Winter
Staying indoors during winter may protect you from the cold air, but can still increase your asthma symptoms! Inside your home, you may be exposed to more indoor air pollutants, such as dust mite droppings, chemical off-gassing from cleaning products, or particulates and fumes from cooking. Increased time at home means more exposure and youre also in closer proximity to friends, coworkers, and family, which means germs spread faster, which can be especially problematic for those with viral-induced asthma.
While it is impossible to avoid all asthma attacks, but knowing a few things can help you make good decisions about what is best for you.
- Although you may benefit from the fresh air outside your home, try to stay indoors when the temperature drops well below freezing, especially if its below 10°F .
- Keep your written asthma action plan up-to-date and actually, use it! Keep it visible and easy to reference for friends and family.
- If spending more time indoors and at home, make sure to vacuum regularly to remove indoor triggers and allergens. Use a vacuum that is genuine HEPA certified.
- Wash your blankets and sheets with increased frequency, and use hot water! Every week is best to ensure youre removing all dust mites.
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Why Can Cold Air Trigger Asthma
People with asthma have airways that are more sensitive, and prone to inflammation. Cold air can lead to dryness in the airways, the tightening of the muscles around the airways and impair the normal function of the airways to clear inhaled substances. All of this can lead to an increase in asthma symptoms.
In Australia, we are generally used to breathing warm, humid air which is what our lungs need to stay vital and healthy and clear debris that we breathe in.
Cold and dry air conditions make it harder for our lungs to do the things it needs to in order to make our breathing easy and keep us healthy.
How To Keep Your Asthma Under Control In The Cold
An asthma attack occurs when your bronchial tubes become inflamed after exposure to certain triggers. As they become inflamed, the bronchial tubes narrow, making it harder for air to pass through. As a result, it can be difficult to catch your breath or breathe normally. During an asthma attack, it is common to experience symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing.
You may notice more frequent or severe asthma symptoms during the winter. This is because as the air becomes colder, it is also drier. Your bronchial tubes are normally lined with a thin layer of fluid and mucus. As you breathe in dry air, the fluid, which helps air pass through more easily, evaporates faster than it can be replaced. This dries out and irritates the bronchial tubes, causing them to become inflamed. Cold air also increases your bodys mucus production. Your body uses the mucus lining in your airways to help filter out harmful particles from the air you breathe. When too much mucus is produced, it becomes thicker and stickier than normal, increasing your chances of catching a cold or virus.
While you may not be able to totally prevent exposure to all asthma triggers, there are steps you can take to help you breathe easier this winter. Allergist Jacqueline Moran, MD, shares tips to keep your asthma under control as temperatures drop.
Protect yourself from a cold or flu virus
Your primary care physician may also recommend you receive a pneumonia vaccine for added protection.
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How Cold Air Affects Asthma
The lungs in a person with asthma are much more sensitive than those in a person who does not have the respiratory condition. Cold air in the lungs of an asthmatic causes whats called a bronchospasm, which is inflammation of the lungs. Muscles around the bronchial tubes becomes contracted and narrow, leading to greater difficulty in breathing. An increase in mucus also contributes to wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.
If a person with asthma has it under control, then they can limit the amount of winter-time asthma attacks they experience. But for a person who does not have their asthma well managed, winter can be a nightmare full of scary situations every time they step outside their front door.
Lifestyle Tips For Asthma
Keeping your homes air at an appropriate humidity level may help, but its not enough to control asthma completely.
If you have asthma, your doctor has probably prescribed controller and rescue medications for you. Its important that you follow your doctors directions and continue to use any asthma prevention medications you are prescribed, even when your symptoms are under control.
In addition to taking your prescriptions, these tips may help you to better manage asthma:
- Identify and avoid asthma triggers, such as pollen, animal dander, and dust mites.
- Do not smoke or vape.
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