As we gear up (and bundle up) for the winter season, people with asthma who live in cold climates may notice they are having a tougher time breathing. That’s because when you breathe in dry, cold air, your airways start to narrow, making it hard to breathe. Cold air can especially affect your airways when you are doing physical activities that make you breathe through your mouth. When you breathe through your mouth, the cold air can’t be warmed by your nose first before moving to your lungs. This may cause an asthma attack.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your exposure to cold weather asthma triggers and the chance of having asthma symptoms or an attack this winter season:
- Wear a scarf or face mask over your mouth and nose. This will help warm and humidify the air you breathe.
- If you normally exercise outdoors, consider an indoor activity on cold winter days.
- Always carry your quick-relief inhaler with you.
Still, we know the winter season is full of fun events both inside and out. So, if you are going outdoors, your doctor may recommend using your quick-relief inhaler ahead of time. Additionally, it is important to remember to keep your inhaler from being fully exposed to the cold temperatures – pack and carry it in an insulated bag or keep it in an inside coat pocket.
We hope these tips are helpful as you take on winter fun. Visit aafa.org/weather if you need more information on weather-related asthma.
We wish you and your loved ones a warm and healthy holiday season!