If you have asthma, or have a loved one with asthma, you may be curious about how changes in weather can affect asthma. Cold air may seem refreshing to some, but it is also a common trigger of asthma. This means that as the weather gets colder, your asthma could flare up!
Cold Air and Asthma
Thankfully, we consulted with an asthma expert for more information. Dr. Mayank Shukla, an asthma specialist in New York, gave us great insight into how to manage your asthma in the winter. Keep reading to learn more about how our practice can deliver a wide range of treatment options to make cold air and asthma a lot easier to deal with.
Cold Air and Asthma Triggers
Cold weather is often dry or windy, both of which can make asthma worse. People with asthma have chronic inflammation in their bronchial tubes, which bring air to a person’s lungs. This inflammation means that people with asthma tend to have narrow airways, making it difficult to fill the lungs with air. Cold air, especially when it’s dry, can cause these already inflamed airways to spasm. The coughing and wheezing that results from the spasm makes it even harder to breathe.
If your asthma isn’t severe, cold weather may not have as much of an impact. However, people with severe asthma are very likely to be affected by cold air.
Symptoms of Cold Weather Asthma
Asthma triggers tend to all function the same way. You shouldn’t expect any new symptoms to emerge based on the temperature! Common symptoms of asthma, no matter the cause, are:
- Feeling short of breath
- Feeling tightness in your chest
- Wheezing on exhales
If you are coughing, it doesn’t matter if the cough is dry or produces phlegm. Both are symptomatic of asthma.
Tips to Handle Asthma in the Cold Weather
It’s important to visit your doctor at the first sign of asthma symptoms. But at home, there are several ways to manage your asthma in the winter before your appointment with us:
Limit Outdoor Time
Exercising outdoors can expose your lungs to extra cold air. It may be better to exercise at home instead or to join a gym. If you have to spend time outside, bring a scarf. You can wrap it around your face to ensure you are breathing in warmer air.
It’s important to be proactive about germs. You should get your flu shot in the early fall annually, for example. You should also wash your hands frequently with soap and keep hand sanitizer nearby. Be careful about touching your face and eyes so as not to spread germs.
Avoid Animal Dander
If you are allergic to a household pet, you may need to limit your time around the pet. It’s important to keep pets out of your bedroom if pet dander agitates your asthma.
Keep Your Home Clean
It’s important to keep your home from developing mold and dust mites. These can trigger asthma. One way to do this is to keep your home cool and try. You may also find some symptom relief by using a humidifier, but be careful your home is not too humid to avoid mold.
You should also take care to keep the filters in your heating and cooling ducts clean and replace them often. If the air isn’t at its best quality, you may have more asthma symptoms.
Have an Emergency Plan
You may need to consult with your asthma doctor to come up with an emergency plan, especially if you have severe asthma. An emergency plan could look many different ways. Perhaps you want to make sure you have a backup inhaler or other medication. It could also be a good idea to leave extra inhalers with people you see often. However you choose to plan for an emergency, your asthma specialist can help!
See an Asthma Specialist Today!
To learn more about treating your asthma symptoms and how to plan for cold weather, reach out to an asthma expert! Dr. Mayank Shukla, your trusted asthma doctor in Brooklyn, wants to help. In addition to your custom treatment plan, make sure to follow the tips in this article if they apply to you. Don’t hesitate — schedule an appointment today!