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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