Catching your breath - Urgent Care OKC & Edmond

Keep Your Lungs Healthy This Winter

Why Winter Makes Your Asthma Worse and What to Do About It

Very few of us enjoy cold weather, but the often-frigid winter air can wreak additional havoc on those suffering from asthma. Why is winter more difficult for asthmatics? Is there anything you can do to avoid attacks? Healthy lungs are happy lungs. Let’s see how we can make that easier this winter.

Winter air has many qualities that can trigger asthma symptoms:

  • Cold. Cold air is irritating to the airway and can cause your muscles to spasm, reducing airflow and even triggering an asthma attack.
  • Dry air. Typically, winter air holds significantly reduced humidity. This dry air can irritate the airways and cause an asthma attack.
  • Indoor triggers. Most people spend more time indoors in the winter. However, indoor triggers such as pet dander, mold, and smoke can have an increased effect in the already-dry winter air.
  • Fire and smoke. Whether inside in the fireplace or outdoors with a cozy bonfire, the dry, hot air and smoke emanating from a fire is especially irritating to the airways.

Unfortunately, asthma triggers abound in- and outdoors during the winter. Here’s what you can do to decrease your chances of winding up in an Urgent Care this winter:

  • Use a scarf. Covering your mouth while outside will help keep air warm as it travels through your airways, reducing irritation.
  • Exercise indoors. Rapid intake of cold-winter air is a near-sure way to irritate your airway. Consider indoor activities such as weight lifting, swimming, and spinning.
  • Cover your bedding. Use dust mite-proof covers on pillows and comforters to limit irritation if you are sensitive.
  • Use a humidifier. Adding moisture to the dry winter air inside your home is a good way to ease its effects on your airways.
  • Speak with a doctor. Ask your doctor about your triggers, and other ways to prevent an asthma attack. Find out if a flu shot is an option for you.

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Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack

First Med Urgent Care: Asthma attacks

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America about fifteen million Americans have Asthma. Treatment usually works well to ease and prevent symptoms and it is usually treated with daily inhalers. Sometimes a person can even develop Asthma, later in life, without even realizing it. Asthma is an inflammation and obstruction of the passages that allow air to enter and leave the lungs (bronchial tubes). During an Asthma attack, the muscles that border the bronchial tubes tighten, narrowing the air passages and making it extremely difficult to breathe.

If you have a minor Asthma attack that you do not know how to control, you may consider visiting our urgent care facility. We want to keep you informed of the symptoms of an Asthma attack, because being aware of the symptoms is crucial to preventing an even greater Asthma emergency. Some Asthma attack symptoms include:

1.) Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or very rapid breathing
2.) Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
3.) Coughing that won’t stop
4.) Chest pressure or pain
5.) Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
6.) Difficulty talking and performing normal daily activities
7.) Feelings of anxiety or panic
8.) Pale, sweaty face
9.) Blue lips or fingernails
10.) Worsening symptoms despite use of your medications

Keep in mind that not every Asthma patient will get all of these symptoms and having these symptoms alone does not necessarily mean that you have Asthma. Furthermore, many Asthma patients may not have any symptoms at all until they are having an attack. If you feel that you have developed any of these symptoms, it may good a idea to get checked out at the urgent care facility. Even if it turns out that you aren’t asthmatic, it is better to be safe than sorry.