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.
The Difficulty Of Running In Winter
According to popular belief, running in winter can do more harm than good.
In fact, many beginner runners believe that, at a specific temperature, their lungs will freeze when breathing the cold air and die on the spot.
That said, frozen lungs are not something you need to worry about.
In fact, this fear is blown out of proportion.
Here is the truth.
Running in sub-freezing temperatures is more uncomfortable than it is dangerous.
Only in extreme subfreezing conditions does the chance exist for severe lung damage.
In fact, at temperatures below 4 °F , outdoor exercise is out of the question since your body may not be able to adequately warm the air before it gets to the lungs .
Nonetheless, the odds of you running in such freezing conditions are slimunless thats your home
Tips To Make Winter Easier On Your Asthma
Don’t let the cold, dry air or a common cold worsen your asthma symptoms. Follow these tips to stay healthy when the temperatures dip.
Unless you love stepping outside to cold, dry air that smacks you in the face, winter can be a dreary season. For people with asthma, the cold weather can worsen their symptoms.
There are two issues with winter for people with asthma, notes Marilyn Li, MD, an allergist and immunologist with the LAC+USC Healthcare Network in Los Angeles. One is that the air is cold and dry, and the other is people have more sinus and upper respiratory infections, either of which can trigger or worsen asthma attacks.
To keep a handle on asthma attacks during the cold-weather months, here are 10 things you can do.
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What Happens To The Lungs During An Asthma Attack
During an asthma attack, the airways become very inflamed and sensitive in response to a certain irritant or asthma trigger. When this happens, the muscles in the airways tighten up and restrict air flow to the lungs. In addition to swelling and inflammation, the cells in the airways often produce much more mucus than they usually do, which can cause the airways to become even more blocked. Limited oxygen can cause the individual to become weak, light-headed, and very tired.
In severe cases, if the oxygen flow through the airways is not somehow improved, the individual could die.
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.
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Inhale In Through The Nose & Exhale Through The Mouth
In all my previous how to breathe when running articles, I typically recommended breathing in both through the nose and mouth.
That said, you might have to breathe differently in cooler temps.
In fact, when running in the cold, inhaling solely through the nose is the way to go.
Here is why.
Breathing in through the nose may help better warm up and humidify the air since the latter has to travel a great distance to get to the lungs, granting it more time to be heated and moistened through the nasal passages and the cells that line the trachea.
Nasal breathing not only helps warm the air, but also regulates body temperature.
The only downside to this method is that it wont allow to take in as much oxygen as its possible through the mouth.
This is especially the case as you increase your running intensity, such as when opting for intervals or hill reps.
As a result, relying solely on the nasal breathing may result in shortness of breath and side stitches.
So, during the extreme cold, do less intense running to prevent you from panting for air.
Keep your workouts at a conversational pace, and up the intensity only when its comfortable and easy to breathe.
This also may help you prevent side stitch running.
Running With Asthma How To Keep Breathing Easy
Thanks to the continuous physical exertion it requires, and being a largely outdoor activity thus exposing asthmatics to environmental triggers running is, alas, a particularly strong asthma trigger. Charity Asthma UK report that over three-quarters of their correspondents have reported exercise such as running as a trigger. But it neednt be the end of the road: famously, Paula Radcliffe was diagnosed with asthma at 14, and 25% of the London 2012 Team GB athletics squad had it. It doesnt have to hold you back and there are ways around it.
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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.
Tips For Safely Running With Asthma
If you want to run for exercise, it may be inspiring to hear that many professional athletes have asthma. While asthma causes symptoms that challenge breathing, you can participate in any activity as long as you manage your asthma symptoms, notes the American Lung Association. In fact, regularly running or engaging in other types of exercise can improve the amount of oxygen your body can use, as well as your overall health.
First and foremost, it’s important to get the all-clear from your doctor before running and to listen to your body when you’re out on runs. This goes for anyone with asthma, but especially those with exercise-induced asthma, who can experience dangerous wheezing and chest tightness when running.
Safely running with asthma also takes a little awareness of running conditions, as issues such as air quality and temperature may affect your asthma symptoms.
Ellen Lindner / Verywell
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What Types Of Sports Are Best For People With Eib
Activities most likely to trigger EIB:
- Sports or activities in cold/dry weather
- Sports or activities that need constant activity
Activities least likely to trigger EIB:
- Sports or activities that use short bursts of exercise
- Walking or leisure biking
- Swimming in a warm, humid environment
It is important to consult with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program. Pace yourself. With effective management, people with EIB can perform and excel in a variety of sports. Many Olympic athletes and professional athletes with EIB excel in their sports.
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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Winter Is Here And So Is The Season Of Allergies It May Be Worse For Asthmatics Considering They Are More Prone To Allergic Reactions Than Others
- Sarika Rana
- Asthma is a respiratory condition that is tough to completely cure
- Winter is here and so is the season of allergies
- When you are exposed to a food allergen, your immune system over-reacts
Every individual reacts to various foods differently, but there are certain foods that can trigger an asthmatic attack in this cold weather. Here are some foods suggested by Nutritionist Dr. Simran Saini from Fortis Hospital, which an asthmatic MUST AVOID.
1. Sour fruits
Citrus fruits increase the risk of asthma attack. The pulp in these fruits can be one of the major triggers of asthma. It is best to avoid them.;
Citrus fruits increase the risk of asthma attack
2. Cold dairy products
Asthma patients should keep away from dairy products like milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese as much as they can, as they can easily trigger an attack, which may include wheezing and coughing.;
Asthma patients should keep away from dairy products like milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese3. Junk food
is not only bad for your waistline but also for your lungs. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, more servings of fast food were found to increase the risk of severe asthma by 39 percent for teens and 27 percent for children. Researchers revealed that it may be due to high levels of saturated and trans fat found in these foods, which can further weaken the immune system.
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What Are Some Resources To Help Me Track The Weather
Accuweather/AAFA personalized respiratory forecast; Visit Accuweather.com for a personalized asthma forecast for your area. Enter your location. Then from the Personalized Forecasts drop-down menu, choose Respiratory. The Accuweather/AAFA forecast will show asthma alerts along with your forecast. The page also includes;tips from AAFA on managing weather-related asthma issues.
AirNow The Environmental Protection Agencys site on air quality gives your areas Air Quality Index . Based on the AQI, you can tell if air quality could affect your asthma. An AQI of 101 or above is dangerous for those with asthma. You can also sign up to get daily email alerts.
National Allergy Bureau – Sign up to receive email alerts or download the app from the AAAAI to alert you of your area’s pollen counts.
Pollen.com Enter your zip code to get local pollen forecasts and pollen history.
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Best Ways To Avoid Asthma Attacks During Winter
While winter brings with it the joy of festivals and holidays, it can also act as a trigger for asthma. Cold weather can contribute to asthma attacks;during winter so much so that it might cause;the disease in people who spend a lot of time outdoors in such weather or live in cold, dry climates.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid asthma attacks during winter.
- Wash your hands
Frequent and proper washing of your hands with water and soap is one of the simplest and best ways to avoid catching or spreading the cold and other viruses. Hand sanitisers that are alcohol-based also do the trick. Make sure to emphasize the importance of good hand washing to your children and educate them on it being one of the most basic steps of good hygiene.
- Dont Exercise Outdoors
The cold weather doesnt mean that you have to give up on your exercise routine but make sure to follow it indoors. In cold weather, symptoms are even more likely to appear during exercise because as the air is cold it can irritate the sensitive airways in your lungs. Avoid sports that involve long periods of exertion, such as football, distance running, basketball and field hockey.
- Warm-Up Before Exercise
Studies have shown that people with asthma have a greater lung function and recover faster after exercising when they are warmed up. This is important but especially in winter whenever you work out. Before heading for working out outdoors in the cold, consider doing your first 20 minutes of your run on a treadmill.
Is Running Good For Asthma
Studies reveal that asthma can be reduced slowly by practicing regular exercises, as it helps to strengthen your immune system. But for an asthmatic, not all the exercises are useful in this regard.
And for this reason, you need to visit your doctor to collect the list of exercises that can efficiently handle your asthma symptoms.
Although doctors recommend asthma patients to get indulged in regular exercises like running, it is not the best option for you especially when you get frequent asthma attacks after running.
Well, this does not mean that you should not/can not benefit from running and exercising just because you are suffering from asthma.
You can either try running softly for few minutes daily OR if you cannot run and exercise, you can try various other activities which are not so intense.
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How Can I Manage And Treat My Eib
With proper management, you can enjoy exercise and achieve your full potential. Proper management requires that you:
- Take steps to prevent symptoms
- Take medicine before exercising
- Do a proper warm up for 6 to 10 minutes before periods of exercise or vigorous activity
- Carefully watch your respiratory status before, during and after exercise
Children With EIB Inform teachers and coaches if you have a child with EIB. Kids with EIB should be able to take part in activities; they just may need medication before an activity.
Athletes With EIB If you are an athlete, disclose your medicines and adhere to standards set by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Request a list of approved and prohibited medications from the Committee hotline at 1-800-233-0393.
How To Breathe When Running In The Cold
Winter running is no easy feat, especially for runners who have breathing problems during cold weather.
In fact, most runnersexcept for the lucky ones living in moderate climate regionsoften experience issues such as a runny nose, restricted breathing, burning lungs, and a dry throat when braving the cold.
For these reasons , many shy away from winter running.
But, thats no excuse to stop running altogether.
Here are the guidelines you need to keep the cold air from taking your breath away.
But before we do that, lets first look at what happens to your body when exercising outdoors in the cold.
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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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The Process Of Air Warm
The pulmonary system is excellent at warming up the air you breathe.
When you breathe the cold air , your nose, mouth, throat, and the cells that line the tracheathe windpipehave a very important task: Warming up the incoming air.
In fact, by the time the inhaled air reaches the bottom of the trachea, the cold air would have been already warmed to near body temperature.
Then, on the exhale, and regardless of ambient air temperature and the relative humidity in the atmosphere, youll breathe out air that matches body temperature.
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