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How Does Cold Air Affect Asthma

Wet And Windy Weather Conditions:

Asthma Australia – How cold dry air affects your asthma

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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Why Is Cold Weather Hard On People With Asthma

  • Wild weather: Winter often brings rain, wind and fluctuations in air pressure, even for those in mild climates. Rainy and windy weather can stir up mold spores and barometric pressure changes can trigger sinusitis. These can also cause asthma flare-ups.
  • Illnesses: Colds, flu and viruses are common in winter and can lead to more inflammation of your airways. Such illnesses thicken the mucus in bronchial tubes and make it harder to breathe. This can worsen symptoms or cause asthma flare-ups.
  • Time spent indoors: When the weather is cold, you may stay inside longer with the windows closed and the heat on. And you may be exposed to more indoor allergens, irritants and respiratory viruses. For example, you could be at risk for an asthma flare if your symptoms are triggered by dust, mold or pet dander, or cigarette smoke if theres a smoker in the house.

Are You Drinking Cold Water From The Fridge This Summer Dont 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 shouldnât 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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Whats The Connection Between Cold Weather And Asthma

When you have asthma, your airways swell up and become inflamed in response to certain triggers. Swollen airways are narrower and cant take in as much air. Thats why people with asthma often have trouble catching their breath.

Winter is an especially hard time for people with asthma. A Chinese study from 2014 found that hospital admissions for asthma increased during the winter months. And in the cold climate of the north of Finland, up to 82 percent of people with asthma experienced shortness of breath when they exercised in cold weather.

When you work out, your body needs more oxygen, so your breathing speeds up. Often, you breathe through your mouth to take in more air. While your nose has blood vessels that warm and humidify the air before it reaches your lungs, air that travels directly through your mouth remains cold and dry.

Exercising outdoors in cold weather delivers cold air rapidly to your airways. It also appears to increase your likelihood of having an asthma attack. What is it about the cold air that triggers asthma symptoms?

Cold air is hard on asthma symptoms for several reasons.

Paying For Your Medicines

Precautions you must take if your child is suffering from asthma ...

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 Trigger My Asthma In Winter

Everyone with asthma has their own mix of triggers. Here are some common winter triggers and easy ways you can deal with them.

Colds and flu

Colds and flu are a top winter trigger, with 75% of people with asthma saying their symptoms get worse when they have a cold or the flu.

As well as remembering to take your preventer inhaler as prescribed, you can also protect yourself against colds and flu by:

  • washing your hands often

See our colds and flu page for more tips on how to reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu if you have asthma.

Chest infections

Chest infections are more common in winter and if you have asthma, you may be more at risk of getting one. Chest infections can also make your asthma symptoms worse, as they inflame your airways.

One of the things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a chest infection is to try to protect yourself from colds and flu.

Cold or damp air

You might notice that your asthma symptoms get worse when its cold. Dont worry, youre not alone. Cold air is dry, which irritates your airways. It can also make you produce more mucus, which can make your asthma feel worse.

If cold air affects your asthma, there are plenty of ways you can protect your airways from the cold, including wrapping a lightweight scarf loosely around your nose and mouth when outside. This warms the air you breathe in, so its less likely to irritate your airways.

Damp and mould

Weve got more tips on what to do if youve got damp or mould in your home.

Exercise Tips For Asthmatics During Winter Season

Exercise is very important for health, even if you have asthma. If you have asthma and still want to enjoy outdoor exercising in the winter, follow these tips.

  • Ensure your mouth is covered, either with a neck scarf, ski mask, or turtle neck. Ensure your nose is also kept warm and that youre inhaling warm air as stated, inhaling cold air can lead to congestion.
  • If it is very cold or there is a weather alert, avoid exercising or even shoveling the snow outdoors, this can be a risky time if you have asthma and it is more likely you will experience an attack.

Generally, for asthmatics, exercise should take place indoors during the winter, but even so there are some tips to help you better prevent an asthma attack.

  • Ensure heating filters are changed.
  • Use a humidifier in the room where you exercise indoor heat can be dry and irritate the lungs.
  • Ensure the area is clean and dust-free.

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What Are Some Alternatives

The rise of niche cocktails has lead to the creation of the mocktail. A mocktail can be just as refreshing and festive as a cocktail, and it comes without potential side effects.

Sulfites are preservatives that can often be found in mixers. When ordering a mocktail, be sure to look for one that has fresh ingredients.

You can also search the kids menu, or modify the drinks you used to order on special childhood occasions. How about a grown-up version of a Shirley Temple? Pair fresh cherry and lime juice paired with sparkling soda to create one.

Do you want to make a mocktail at home? Thats easy, too. Combine sparkling water with some fresh-squeezed juice, or muddled fruits and herbs.

Breathe Through Your Nose

Cold Air Effects on Asthma Patients

Breathing through your mouth in winter can irritate your lungs. On the other hand, breathing through your nose can provide your airways and lungs with warmer air thats less likely to cause irritation.

If you are going to be exercising outdoors or want to eliminate the problems that breathing through your mouth can create, wearing a scarf or face mask over your mouth and nose can help.

This can also protect you from breathing in specific allergens, such as pollen.

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How Can Overly Dry Air Affect Your Health

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you keep the humidity in your home or workspace between 30 and 50 percent. When the air becomes drier than that, it raises the risk of several types of health issues.

Lets take a closer look at some of the ways that overly dry air can affect your health.

Cold Weather And The Impact It Can Have On Your Asthma

Can cold weather trigger asthma?

For some people with asthma, the cold and dry autumn and winter air can induce asthma symptoms and trigger asthma flare-ups.

We know children and adults are more likely overall to be hospitalised for their asthma as the temperatures drop, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Researchers believe this is due to a range of factors including the cold and the low level of moisture in the air. The cold weather is also accompanied by the other potential triggers during winter, such as cold and flu, viruses, dust, mould and worsening air quality due to wood fire smoke heaters and open fires.

Why does cold weather act as an asthma trigger for some people?

The airways of people with asthma can become inflamed and make it more difficult to breathe.

This is especially noticeable when exercising in the cold or simply inhaling cold air.

Researchers believe this is due to the dual impact of the cold and dry air on the airways, plus people breathing in more through their mouth, instead of through their noses.

This is important because breathing through the nose can warm, filter and humidify the air before it gets to the airways in the lungs.

But when people breathe through their mouths, it goes straight to the lungs and is unfiltered, colder and drier.

Asthma Australia Senior Educator Gemma Crawley says breathing in cold, dry and potentially unfiltered air can dry out the airways, increasing irritation and sensitivity.

References

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How Cold Weather Can Increase Your Asthma Symptoms

If you suffer from asthma, then you know that there is most definitely a connection between this uncomfortable condition and the weather. Just as an arthritis patient can often tell when it is about to rain because they can feel it in their bones, an asthmatic can often tell when the weather is changing because they can feel it in their lungs. With cold weather coming on, it is important to recognize its effect on asthma and learn how to minimize that effect.

When Youre Out And About

Cough 101 or Why Won

Check the weather before you go out. If its too cold or breezy for you or you are not feeling well or are having trouble breathing, stay indoors and keep warm. Keep an eye on humidity levels as well, as high humidity might affect your breathing. When out and about, make sure to keep your extremities warm by wearing a hat, gloves and even an extra pair of socks if you need to.

Carry your reliever medication with you as cold air can tighten your airways making it harder for you to breathe.

Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth as this will help warm the air you breathe in.

Protect your lungs and airways from cold air by wearing a hood or scarf that covers your mouth. Its best to use a smooth material that isnt scratchy if you can.

If youre worried about going out in cold weather, ask someone to check up on you or to go with you.

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Focus On Breathing Through Your Nose

That way your airways will be filled with warm air, not cold air thats breathed through your mouth. If you find you cant resist mouth-breathing, or will be exerting yourself , bundle up by wearing a scarf or face or ski mask over your mouth. This will help ward off potential pollens and warm the air you are breathing in.

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.

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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.

Get Support To Quit Smoking

Why Does Cold Weather Worsen Asthma Symptoms?

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your winter health. Now is the best time, as winter brings an increase in the risk of complications like chest infections, heart attacks and stroke.

Youre more likely to quit for good with the support of a local stop smoking service. See the help you can get.

Give us a call on 0300 222 5800 if youd like more advice. Our friendly helpline team is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. They can also talk to you about extra help you might be entitled to during cold weather, such as winter fuel payments.

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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 10ð 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.

Characteristics Of The Study Population

The study comprised 7330 participants from FINRISK 2007 and FINRISK 2012. Table 1 presents the characteristics of the study population according to gender. More than half of the subjects were 50 years old or older, and almost one fourth of the subjects were obese or severely obese . Almost half of the subjects were indoor workers .

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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.

Why Asthma Can Be Worse In Winter And Steps To Manage Attacks

The Health Website : Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects nearly 25 million people in America. Its a respiratory disease that makes breathing difficult and often comes with lung spasms, wheezing, and chest tightness.

Your lungs are made of bronchi that transport air to and from your lungs. If you have asthma, your airways are easily inflamed. Inflamed airways swell, closing your breathing passages and making it hard for air to reach your lungs.

Changes in your environment like weather, dust, and smoke can make your lungs extra sensitive. For many asthmatics, winter weather brings more frequent asthma attacks. The doctors at Wasatch Peak Family Practice can help you find an asthma treatment plan that works with your lifestyle.

One of the best things you can do to prevent and manage asthma attacks in winter is to understand your triggers and know your treatment plan. Let us help you understand your asthma and how to control it.

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