Dealing with asthma in winter
The cold weather can be a major trigger for asthma symptoms, and during winter asthma sufferers often suffer.
There are more than 5.4 million people in the UK living with asthma; whether you experience asthma symptoms or know someone who does, here are some tips for dealing with asthma in winter to help you feel your best even in the cold.
Keep your inhaler nearby
If you use a blue inhaler, take care to keep it with you at all times, particularly if you know you’ll be out in the cold. If you find you need your inhaler more often than usual, speak to your doctor – it may be time for a medication review.
Use a scarf
Keeping your nose and mouth covered is one of the simplest ways to prevent an asthma attack when you’re out enjoying winter sports or walking in cold weather. Wear a hat to keep warm and use a scarf to loosely cover your nose and mouth, helping warm up the air before you breathe it in.
Breathe through your nose
Your nose naturally warms the air you breathe before it passes to your lungs, creating a similar effect as wearing a scarf loosely around your mouth and nose. Ski masks or face masks are also helpful if you’re spending time outdoors in seriously cold weather.
Staying dry is just as important as staying warm – use waterproof shoes, carry an umbrella and wear gloves at all times.
Avoid exercise in the cold
Save any high intensity exercise for a warmer environment indoors if possible – try running on a treadmill rather than outdoors, for example. When exercising outdoors or taking part in winter sports, make sure you warm up for 10 – 15 minutes before getting started.
If you know cold weather is a trigger for you, be sure to educate friends and family about how to recognise the signs of an asthma attack and how they can help you in that situation. If you have a written asthma action plan, consider carrying it with you to share with others or email it to close friends and relatives you regularly spend time with.
Think about your home environment
Allergens and other triggers like dust can be particularly troublesome during winter when we spend a lot more time cooped up indoors. Think about any known triggers and how you can minimise exposure at home – for example, keeping pets out of the bedroom, covering bedding and dusting regularly.
Do you have any tips for dealing with asthma in winter?
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