The chill of winter can bring on the wheeze of asthma for many patients. Here are some tips on what you can do to keep control on the condition as the air grows colder.
Bundle Up: Cold, dry air will make airways tighten and bring added risk to those with asthma. Wear scarves and face coverings that stop the wind chill from blasting into your mouth and nose. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says this will help make sure the air in your lungs remains warm and humid.
Exercise indoors: Intense workouts mean heavy breathing. If you love outdoor sports or running, find an indoor track or court to ensure room temperature air enters your system. If it’s a choice of snowboarding or basketball, and you are worried about an attack while engaged in sports, it might be best to pick the activity inside the gym.
Pack your inhaler: This is good advice any time of year, of course, but will be all the more important in harsh weather conditions, especially if you live in cold climates. The AAFA says if you are engaging in outdoor activities in the cold, it may be worth a conversation with your physician, who may recommend using the inhaler in advance of certain activities.
Pick blankets, not fires: The warmth of a fireplace feels inviting in the colder months, but it brings respiratory risks as well, especially for those with asthma and allergies. The Cleveland Clinic suggests the risks associating with wood-fueled flames compare to those from smoking cigarettes.
Keep up with shots: To make sure you don’t face significant risks tied with respiratory illness, the Centers for Disease Control recommends getting this season’s flu shot and any appropriate vaccines for airborne viruses. Do remember a flu shot won’t protect you from threats like the coronavirus, and seek out separate shots and treatments as available.
Humidify: The Cleveland Clinic recommends investing in a humidifier for your home. Even inside, the air becomes colder and drier as temperature drops, and for a small price you can make sure the air in your own home won’t pose a risk to your health. Make sure to keep the humidifier clean and change out its filters as your machine manufacturer recommends.
Have an action plan: Above all, make sure to be prepared in the event you do have an asthma attack. It’s wise to keep a printed asthma action plan on your person at all times in case of an emergency. If you have a child who suffers from asthma, make sure to know the steps to take to provide necessary medical attention when necessary. Separate forms are available from the AAFA.