Dry and/or cold air is a trigger for airway narrowing (bronchoconstriction) and can be a weather-related asthma trigger. When you breathe in cold, dry air through your mouth, the air doesn't get warmed by your nose first. The cold air goes to your lungs and airways. This can trigger an asthma attack. Breathing through your mouth is more likely when you exercise or exert yourself – such as shoveling snow or skiing.
Follow these steps for reducing your chances of having asthma symptoms triggered by cold air:
- Wear a scarf or face mask over your mouth.
- If you normally exercise outdoors, consider an indoor sport for the winter, like swimming or basketball.
- If you do need to be outdoors in cold weather, you may need to use your quick-relief inhaler before you go outdoors. Talk with your doctor about a pretreatment plan.
- Always carry your quick-relief inhaler with you and protect it from cold temperatures.
Knowing how to manage your asthma can reduce missed work days, reduce or prevent hospitalizations and allow you to do more of the activities you enjoy. Learn more about managing your asthma with our free ASTHMA (Asthma Symptoms, Treatment, Health Management and Activities™) Care for Adults program today.
Asthma is a chronic disease and asthma triggers can change with the seasons. If you are experiencing more asthma symptoms this winter, but sure check with your doctor to review your Asthma Action Plan. Symptoms include:
- Wheezing (a whistling, squeaky sound when you breathe)
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Chest tightness
Updated December 2018