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Coping with asthma in the winter

winter asthma

Coping with asthma in the winter

Some people love winter. Some hate it – and they have good reason to. For some individuals, illnesses can feel even more overwhelming due to the cold weather. Colds, coughs, and chest infections will plague us until spring, but for those who have asthma, these ailments can impact them differently. Breathing problems, tight chests, and even poor emotional health are all side effects of dealing with asthma in the winter.

What causes asthma?

The condition usually starts in childhood; the breathing tubes become inflamed which leads to them becoming temporarily narrow. This can cause several symptoms including:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest constriction
  • Coughing
  • Tiredness

There are many reasons why a person might suffer from the condition, such as:

  • Genetics
  • If they previously had bronchiolitis
  • Exposure to smoke
  • Hormonal changes in females

But, more often than not, it’s allergies that cause asthma attacks.

Triggers

One of the biggest triggers is allergens – especially in the winter months. Due to the cold air, we are likely to keep windows closed, which can lead to a build-up of household irritants such as dust. To combat this, keep your home clean and tidy, and try to let the air circulate when possible. It may also be worth investing in anti-allergen bedding.

As the cold air can affect the upper respiratory system, people with asthma are likely to pick up infections easier than others. It makes a common cold or chest infection more difficult to cope with and even affect day to day life, as it can make breathing difficult and leave sufferers feeling exhausted.

Other triggers include:

  • Smoke
  • Pollution
  • Exercise

Aside from keeping your environment as free from allergens as possible, we recommend that you layer up to prevent the cold weather from affecting you too much. It’s also critical that you avoid spending too much time with people who have a common infection, as you are more vulnerable to illness.

Flu

If you have asthma, you may want to consider flu vaccination as the flu can cause the airways to become inflamed, which can trigger an attack. 8 out of 10 people say that the flu made their symptoms worse. Not getting the vaccination may lead to problems such as pneumonia.

It’s critical that you reduce your exposure to cold air, allergens, and the common cold and cough. Primary activities such as keeping you and your body clean, healthy eating, and plenty of sleep will help too. Investing in an inhaler is also essential.

Inhalers

Inhalers help sufferers to manage their asthma and can be prescribed in three types:

  • Reliever: to relieve symptoms
  • Preventer: to protect the airways so that symptoms aren’t as likely to occur
  • Combination: a mix of the two types

Whether you or your child have asthma, stay protected this winter to avoid further health problems. Keep your distance from allergens, and cancel plans with family and friends who have a cough or cold.

If you have asthma but don’t know if you suffer from allergies that might make it worse, request an allergy test from us today so that you don’t have to worry this winter.

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