What Else Should I Know About Cold Air And Asthma
Every persons asthma is different. If cold weather triggers your asthma symptoms, you should treat it as you would any other flare-up.
Monitor the weather and try to stay inside on the very coldest days. Wear a scarf or face mask if you must go out. Guard your health so a virus doesnt cause an asthma flare-up. Humidify the air indoors to the level that makes your breathing most comfortable.
Follow your doctors direction for medication use. If you are prescribed an inhaler or other medication to manage your asthma, dont skip using it when youre feeling fine. Always follow the plan you have in place to avoid unnecessary flare-ups.
- Make sure all your prescriptions are current. Refill if needed.
- Your Asthma Action Plan should include how to handle asthma when you have no symptoms, if symptoms begin, and if they become severe. Be prepared for all eventualities.
- Keep a notebook to write down notes whenever symptoms worsen. This could shed light on new or old triggers. Keep track of your medication usage; your doctor will appreciate a big-picture view.
Thunderstorms And Extreme Weather Can Be A Threat To Asthma Control
In hot summer conditions, extreme weather such as thunderstorms become more prevalent. Experts aren’t 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.
How To Deal With Asthma During The Winter
For many of the 25 million people with asthma, controlling it during the cold winter months can be difficult.
People with asthma may experience worse symptoms during winter or be more likely to have an asthma attack because theyre spending more time indoors, theyre more likely to get a cold or the flu, and the air outside is cold and dry.
The cold, dry air outside can trigger asthma, but staying indoors more with the windows closed around dust mites, mold, pet dander and other allergens can also cause asthma to flare up, said Anthony Wylie, D.O., a primary care physician at Geisinger Mt. Pleasant. In addition, when someone with asthma gets a cold or the flu, it can trigger an asthma attack.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition where irritants can cause the airways in your lungs to become inflamed and swollen, making it harder to breathe. Your lungs might also produce mucus as a result, which can further narrow your airways.
If you have asthma, you might experience periods of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. These symptoms sometimes go away on their own; however, people with asthma often use a long-term medication to control ongoing symptoms, as well as a short-term rescue inhaler for symptoms that appear quickly.
1. Breathe through your nose
2. Wear a scarf around your mouth when outside
3. Clean frequently
4. Get a flu shot
5. Work out indoors
6. Create an action plan
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Best Climate For Asthma
Asthma sufferers often wonder if there is a best climate to better live with their asthma. Depending on whom you talk to, the answer will vary. But there are things to keep in mind when looking for a new home, if you’re already planning to move, since most doctors will recommend hat moving for your asthma is generally a bad idea.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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.
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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.;
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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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;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.
Simple Steps Can Help You Avoid Complications That Come From Breathing Cold Dry Air
A blast of cold air in the face as you step outside is a brisk reminder that the harshness of winter has arrived. And a deep breath of icy air can be risky for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . The cold temperatures can trigger symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
Even in healthy people, cold, dry air can irritate the airways and lungs. It causes the upper airways to narrow, which makes it a little harder to breathe.
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- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
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Ozone Levels Rise In Hot Sunshiny Days
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 don’t produce an allergic reaction, per se, they do worsen existing asthma symptoms and contribute to a decline in asthma control.2,3
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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Bring Your Inhaler With You
This goes without saying, but many folks forget theirs, especially when it starts to get nicer in early spring.
Carrying your rescue inhaler is recommended, and for those that are on maintenance inhalers, taking them as prescribed and practicing proper inhaler technique is necessary to get the most out of your inhaler, says Dr. Lan. If you feel your inhaler is not working and you have not been taught how to properly use your inhaler, ask your medical provider or pharmacist to show you how to use it.
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.
Researchers believe this is due to the dual impact of the cold and dry air on the airways,;plus;the bodys increased need for oxygen during sport.
They point to people breathing in more through their mouth when exercising, 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 airway,;increasing;irritation;and sensitivity.
This can lead to;tightening of the muscle around the airway,;and;this;generates;asthma;symptoms, she says.
There are also often more viruses around in winter. This year, of course, we are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic;as well as the normal flu season, both of which impact the;respiratory;system, causing;severe outcomes;for some people.
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Lab And Imaging Tests
If the symptoms are severe and abnormal breathing sounds are detected, your doctor may order blood tests to investigate whether viral pneumonia, RSV, or influenza is involved.
If a bacterial infection is suspected, a throat swab or sputum culture may be performed.
In emergency situations, pulse oximetry or an arterial blood gas test will be used to see if blood oxygen levels are low. Other pulmonary function tests may be performed to evaluate how well your lungs are functioning during and after an acute attack.
Allergen testing may be useful in diagnosing allergic asthma, but it does not necessarily exclude viral-induced asthma as a cause.
Even if a respiratory virus cannot be identified, the co-occurrence of a respiratory infection with a reduced forced expiratory volume of 20% or more is strongly suggestive of viral-induced asthma, particularly in people with well-controlled disease.
Given that viral-induced asthma is as common as it is, findings like these will often warrant treatment even if the viral culprit is not identified.
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.
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What Happens To Your Lungs
When you take a breath of cold air, your lungs humidify and heat the air as it enters your body. You shift from nose to mouth breathing. Cold air is dry, and breathing it in can cause your airways to tighten and become irritated. That’s what causes the familiar burning sensation that makes it slightly painful to breathe. “The main reason you may experience some pain when you exercise in the cold is because lungs don’t like the cold,” says Jonathan Parsons, MD, of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.;;
Just being exposed to cold air increases the number of granulocytes and macrophagestwo types of white blood cells that engulf and destroy foreign invadersin your lungs. At the same time, the drying nature of cold air can slow down mucociliary function, the lung’s self-cleaning system that clears out particles and gases via mucus, making it more difficult for pollutants to be cleared, researchers say.;
Tips To Avoid Cold Air
To protect yourself from asthma flare-ups due to chilly weather, Wedner offers these suggestions:
- Cover your face: Drape a scarf across your mouth and nose, or wear a winter face mask that covers the bottom half of your face.
- Exercise indoors. Work out at a gym or inside your home, or walk laps inside a mall.
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Why Asthma Can Be Worse In Winter And Steps To Manage Attacks
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.
Cold Weather Exercise And Asthma
Exercising outdoors in cold weather may be a problem for people with asthma as both cold air and exercise are known triggers.
When you exercise, you tend to breathe in and out of your mouth instead of your nose. But its your nose that filters the air you breathe in, warming it up and adding moisture to it before it reaches your airways. So air breathed in through your mouth will be colder and drier when it gets to the airways than if it came via your nose.
This can also dry out the moisture layer that lines your airways.
If youre breathing in through your mouth during exercise you may also be taking in pollutants from the environment, such as dust and dirt. These may also irritate your airways and cause asthma symptoms to develop.
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The Impact Of Heat On Asthma
There are a number of reasons why people like you and me, people with asthma, don’t love summer heat. Everyone’s 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.
It’s not that heat triggers any different asthma symptoms. It’s just that it can make what you’re already dealing with even worse. The question is, why does heat affect some of us in this way?
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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