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Is Cold Air Bad For Asthma

What Climate Is Best For Asthma

Alcohol, Cold Air, Exercise: Why they can make your Asthma Worse

Extreme temperatures, i.e., too dry and cold air or too hot and humid air, are bad for asthma. Doctors suggest keeping the air conditioning in your home set at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and perhaps a little cooler at bedtime. They also recommend keeping humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. These temperatures and humidity levels can help you breathe better and keep allergens like dust mites and mold under control.;

The truth is that there is no perfect weather for asthma. Many people with asthma find that consistency in temperature is what works best for them. It helps to keep symptoms under control, along with controlling irritation from allergens and pollutants.

How Can You Avoid Asthma Attacks In The Cold

To prevent asthma attacks, try to stay indoors when the temperature dips very low, especially if its below 10°F .

If you do have to go outside, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf to warm the air before you breathe it in.

Here are a few other tips:

  • Drink extra fluids in the winter. This can keep the mucus in your lungs thinner and therefore easier for your body to remove.
  • Try to avoid anyone who appears to be sick.
  • Get your flu vaccine early in the fall.
  • Vacuum and dust your home often to remove indoor allergens.
  • Wash your sheets and blankets every week in hot water to get rid of dust mites.

Here are some ways to prevent asthma attacks when you exercise outdoors in cold weather:

  • Use your inhaler 15 to 30 minutes before you exercise. This opens up your airways so you can breathe easier.
  • Carry an inhaler with you in case you have an asthma attack.
  • Warm up for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you work out.
  • Wear a mask or scarf over your face to warm the air you breathe in.

Thunderstorms And Extreme Weather Can Be A Threat To Asthma Control

In hot summer conditions, extreme weather such as thunderstorms become more prevalent. Experts arent entirely sure why but have identified that such weather conditions can trigger asthma attacks, sometimes severe.

It may be the airflow patterns during thunderstorms that cause this effect, rather than electrical activity such as thunder and lightning. It seems likely that these airflow patterns could result in more concentrated levels of pollen and mold, which could be one explanation for the increase in asthma attacks during thunderstorms.

Regardless of the reason, extreme weather definitely has had an impact on some of us asthmatics.

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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.

Cold, dry air is a common asthma trigger and can cause bad flare-ups. That’s especially true for people who play winter sports and have exercise-induced asthma.

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.

How Does Exercising Trigger Asthma

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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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Does Asthma Get Worse At Night

Asthma is worse at night than during the day because the body is in a supine position, and you have a higher exposure to allergens than you would when walking around. Exacerbated symptoms make it difficult to sleep and cause coughing, wheezing, and sneezing. We recommend a humidifier, air purifier, and keeping your bedroom clean to reduce indoor allergens.

Why Asthma Symptoms Can Vary With The Weather

So why do asthma symptoms seem to get worse with every change in the weather? Although it seems confusing, there are some annual trends, as well as reasons why asthma symptoms are worse at particular times of the year.

For example, severe asthma episodes tend to peak during the autumn months, especially among children. A 2001 study that examined tens of thousands of asthma hospitalizations in Canada over a 12-year period, for instance, found that there were more than twice as many hospitalizations in October as there were in July or August. Other studies have discovered similar patterns.

However, one study conducted in Detroit found that when there was a rapid 10-degree rise in temperature or a 10% rise in humidityas can happen in spring and summerhospitalizations for children with asthma increased in the next day or two.

In truth, asthma symptoms can flare at any time of year due to well-known asthma triggers, such as pet dander, secondhand smoke, and exercise. But knowing the triggers that can vary by seasonsuch as pollen, temperature, humidity, pollution, and virusescan help people with asthma figure out if they should be stepping up their medication.

In fact, the main culprit is believed to be cold-and-flu season, which kicks into gear once kids head back to school. Classrooms filled with runny noses, and grimy hands are breeding grounds for cold and flu viruses, which schoolchildren inevitably spread to their families.

Next Page: Winter

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What Are The Symptoms Of Cold

There are several factors that may manifest when you have cold-induced asthma. These symptoms typically develop shortly after you are exposed to cold surroundings. The good news is that the symptoms will just go away once you reach a warmer environment. Here are some of the symptoms of cold-induced asthma you should look out for:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest

These symptoms may just go away when proper medications are taken. However, individuals with more severe asthma may experience long-lasting symptoms.

Get Tested For Sleep Apnea

How does cold weather affect asthma?

People with asthma have a high risk of developing sleep apnea. Congestion from asthma causes snoring and may halt breathing for a few seconds at a time. If you wake up feeling tired, moody, and sore each morning, despite getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to long-term effects, like excessive daytime sleepiness and more serious medical conditions, like insomnia and acid reflux Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceor GERD).

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What Causes Asthma Symptoms To Flare Up

Asthma symptom triggers may not be the same for every person who suffers from the disease, but common triggers include:

  • Air pollution
  • Smoking
  • Stress & Anxiety

Once you recognize the factors that trigger your asthma symptoms, it is important to avoid them whenever possible. If you live in an area that is full of environmental pollutants, you may want to consider the possibility of moving to an area with cleaner air. Additionally, consider getting an air purifier for your home, as they can help cleanse the air of potential environmental triggers associated with asthma.

If you currently smoke, you should do everything you can to stop the habit before it makes your asthma symptoms even worse. If you want to learn how to live a life with less asthma flair-ups, you should do everything you can to avoid your personal;triggers and take the necessary medication to manage your symptoms.

The Impact Of Heat On Asthma

There are a number of reasons why people like you and me, people with asthma, dont love summer heat. Everyones asthma is different, and whether you have an allergic type of asthma vs. non-allergic, can also have an effect.

Some people are more affected by hot, humid air, while others feel the impact more from hot, dry air.; Or, it could just be the extreme changes in environmental conditions that make the biggest effect. 1 For example, moving from a hot, humid day outside into a cool, air-conditioned building. Some people might welcome the relief, while asthmatics might experience an asthma attack as a result of the radical difference in air temperature.

Its not that heat triggers any different asthma symptoms. Its just that it can make what youre already dealing with even worse. The question is, why does heat affect some of us in this way?

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Weather And Your Lungs

  • Lung Health and Diseases
  • Science

“What’s the weather going to be today?” It’s a frequent question that has larger implications for those with lung disease. Whether it’s summer or winter, rainy or windy, people with lung disease should pay attention to the weather report as sudden changes in the weather as well as extreme weather conditions can provoke lung symptoms.

Hot and Humid Hot weather can be especially hard on people with respiratory disorders. In a 2013 study from the Johns Hopkins University, researchers found a relationship between rising temperatures and the number of emergency hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory tract infections among people 65 and older. Although the reason behind this correlation is not clear, inhaling hot air is known to promote airway inflammation and exacerbate respiratory disorders like COPD. Hot weather can also be a trigger for people with asthma. Because people with asthma already have inflamed airways, weather is more likely to have an impact, as breathing in hot, humid air induces airway constriction in asthmatics. Air pollution can also be a factor impacting summer breathing in those with lung disease, as increased ozone from smog is often seen in the summer months.

To learn more about how to manage symptoms of COPD or asthma, find a Better Breathers Club near you or learn more about how to manage COPD and asthma at

Can Cold Weather Trigger Asthma

What To Do Now if Your Asthma is Worse in Winter

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;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 and fires.

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Identify And Avoid Your Triggers

It’s important to identify possible asthma triggers by making a note of where you are and what you’re 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.

You’ll have regular contact with your doctor or asthma nurse to monitor your condition.

These appointments may involve:

  • talking about your symptoms for example, if they’re 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

It’s 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 you’re not sure what to do.

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.

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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.

Ozone Levels Rise In Hot Sunshiny Days

Cold Air Effects on Asthma Patients

Besides the increase in allergen levels for pollen, mold, and dust mites, hot sunshiny days can also cause ozone levels to rise. And when that happens, air pollutants become trapped in the air. Air pollutants are a common irritant for people with asthma. While they dont produce an allergic reaction, per se, they do worsen existing asthma symptoms and contribute to a decline in asthma control.2,3

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Taking Care Of My Body

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 15. I knew I had trouble breathing when I exercised, but I just thought I was out of shape and lazy. I also had seasonal allergies and a cough every October through May, but I didnt think it was that bad.

After an asthma attack and a trip to the emergency room, though, I found out my symptoms were all due to asthma. Following my diagnosis, life got easier and more complicated. To manage my lung function, I had to understand my triggers, which include cold weather, exercise, and environmental allergies.

As the seasons change from summer to winter, I take all the steps I can to ensure that my body is starting at as solid a place as possible. Some of these steps include:

  • getting a flu shot every year
  • making sure Im up to date on my pneumococcal vaccination
  • keeping my neck and chest warm in cold weather, which means airing out scarves and sweaters that have been in storage
  • making plenty of hot tea to take on the go
  • washing my hands more often than necessary
  • not sharing food or drinks with anyone
  • staying hydrated
  • staying inside during Asthma Peak Week
  • using an air purifier

An air purifier is important year-round, but here in Southern California, moving into fall means having to contend with the dreaded Santa Ana winds. This time of year, having an air purifier is crucial for easy breathing.

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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:

  • Keep your mouth and nose shielded with a scarf to warm the air before you breathe it in.
  • Use a short-acting albuterol inhaler at the first sign of symptoms to keep asthma from worsening.
  • Stay inside as often as you can. Breathing warmer air will help open up your airways. Just make sure youre inside a place with no indoor allergens and irritants.
  • If you experience symptoms frequently in cold weather, talk with your doctor about a long-term treatment plan.
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