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If you have been living with asthma, then you will already know that winters are the hardest. When the people around you are excited about snowboarding or skiing, you find yourself taking extra care to avoid an asthma attack in the cold weather. Let us take a look at why it is harder during the winters.
Why does Asthma Get Worse in Cold Weather?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America(AAFA) has found that cold air, dry wind, and the sudden changes in the weather can suddenly trigger an asthma attack in a person. This is because the dry and cold air can cause spasms of the muscles inside the airways as they get irritated. Another reason for this is that there is going to be a spread of flu and cold amongst the people. Catching cold can lead to exacerbating asthma symptoms.
10 Tips to Control Asthma in Winter
Try not to let the dry and cold air worsen the symptoms of asthma as simpler stuff might always make a huge difference. Check out the following home remedies for asthma in winter.
1. Wash your Hands
Wash your hands properly and frequently using soap and water. This is one of the simplest ways to avoid spreading viruses and catching colds. You could also use moist towelettes and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Also, emphasize the significance of hand washing in your family to avoid spreading germs in your own home.
2. Get a Flu Shot
Studies show that most people who are older than six months get an annual flu shot. Even if you have your asthma under control, the results could be more serious if you happen to catch the flu. Having asthma does not make you susceptible though. It is best if people with asthma get the injectable type of vaccine which is made out of killed (inactivated) flu virus. It is also advisable to not use the nasal spray type of vaccine as this type has live viruses. You might also be suggested to take pneumonia shot by the doctor.
3. Avoid Sitting Near the Fireplace
Though you find the fireplace cosy and warm, it is not good to sit near it when you have asthma. Studies have identified that burning tobacco and burning wood is very similar. Your lungs can get irritated because of the smoke, and this gets worse in the case of asthma.
4. Your Mouth Must be Closed
Keeping your mouth closed is good for your lungs. Your nose has the ability to warm up the air you breathe for the lungs so you should keep your mouth closed. You can also use a scarf and wear it over your mouth or nose to humidify and warm the air. Some people also find a face mask or a ski mask to be helpful.
5. Replace Filters
When you initially start up the heating system for the winter, you may find it blowing up debris or dust throughout the house. Do not forget to clean the filters before you turn the system on as the debris can activate an asthma attack. Also, remember to always check them all through the winters to avoid attacks. It is best to keep the humidity and temperature levels in your home consistent.
6. Exercise Indoors
When the temperature drops very low, and the wind is really chilly, it best to work out at a gym instead of your usual outdoor exercises. This is because the humidity in the gym might not cause a problem. When you want to exercise with some fresh air, choose to go outside when it’s warmer.
7. Warm Up before Exercising
A study has identified that when people with asthma warm up before exercising, they tend to recover faster and their lung functions are better. This has been proven to be important especially during the winters. Before heading outdoors, you can spend the first 20 minutes of your workout time on the treadmill.
8. Take Steps to Prevent Asthma Flares
When you go out to run errands, walk a dog, or even for exercising, take a preventive dose. You might need to use a bronchodilator at least 30 minutes before stepping out. This will help you by clearing your airways and will give you more protection.
9. Have an Asthma Action Plan
If you ever have an asthma flare, you should always know what you have to do. This action plan must have detailed instructions on how you will keep your asthma in control in the long run. Make sure that you know the right time to call your doctor.
10. Taking Medications
Create an effective treatment plan by checking with your doctor and check your health regularly. It is best not to ignore your health even if you have a busy schedule. Ask your doctor for possible medications if you feel your symptoms are getting worse.
Does Cold Weather Bring Higher Risks for Kids with Asthma?
Yes, the risks of asthma tend to rise during the winters for children as there is a drop in temperature. This increases the cases of common colds and flu. Wet and windy weather might also cause problems.
Asthma prevention in winter is not easy. But these steps will help you get through the cold winters in perfect health. However, never put off going to the doctor if there is an increase in your symptoms.