The winter season comes with its own set of problems, especially for asthmatics but with the right knowledge and resources, it is not difficult to cope with them. With adequate awareness and precautions, the asthma pateints can reduce the number of winter-related asthma attacks they may have otherwise.
Follow these tips to control asthma during the winter season.
Why Does Cold Air Affect Asthma?
There are reasons behind asthmatics facing more difficulties during winters, which are listed below:
Cold Air Is Dry
The airway in the lungs is lined with a thin layer of liquid. When a person breathes in dry air, the liquid evaporates quicker than it can be substituted. The asthma symptoms get worse in winters as the dry airways become irritated and swollen.
Histamine is a constituent which is produced by cold air. This is the same chemical that a human body makes during an allergy attack. Asthma symptoms like wheezing are triggered by histamine.
Cold Increases Mucus
The airways in the lungs are protected by yet another layer of protective mucus. This mucus helps in removing unhealthy particles. During the winters, the body yields mucus that is thicker and stickier than normal mucus. This extra production of mucus tends to attract infection and makes a person more likely to catch a cold and aggregate the asthma symptoms.
Tips To Control Asthma During Winters:
To keep asthma under control during the winter season, these are the following things you can do:
1. Understand Your Triggers
During the winters, you may cough and struggle to catch your breath at times. This happens when you inhale something that triggers your asthma. To avoid this, limit the time around your pets as it may trigger your asthma. Also, use mite-proof covers on the mattress and pillows as this helps in keeping dust allergies at bay.
2. Avoid Strenuous Exercise Outdoors
During the winters, it is advised not to exercise in the outdoors as it is bitterly cold and the wind chill makes it feel like below zero. Dr Marilyn Li, MD, an allergist and immunologist with the LAC+USC Healthcare Network in Los Angeles, says, “The temperatures and the humidity in the gym are less likely to cause a problem” If one still feel that he/she would rather workout in fresh air then choose a timing in the day when the temperature is warmer like mid-afternoon. Another way is to warm the body before heading outside to work out, like running on the treadmill for a few minutes.
3. Carry A Reliever Inhaler
Asthma is an inconstant condition, while one day a person might feel perfectly fine, but the very next one she/he might find yourself struggling with the symptoms. This implies that it is always necessary to carry the reliever inhaler at all times so that a person is always prepared when the symptoms get worse. However if the requirement of the reliever inhaler becomes more than three or more times a week, then it is advisable to consult a doctor.
4. Breathe Through Your Nose
All mothers have always preached to their children to always keep their mouths closed and breathe through the nose. There has been a reason behind this, it is better for the lungs. Breathing cold air through the mouth may trigger the symptoms of asthma as the airways that line the lungs may get shocked. The nose of a human body is designed in a way that when a person breathes in the air, it warms the same. One can also cover themselves with a scarf over the nose and mouth to achieve similar results.
5. Follow The Asthma Plan
Another great tip for keeping asthma under control during winters, is to always have an asthma action plan in place, no matter what the weather. An asthma plan has detailed information about things like what to do if the symptoms flare or the action plan in case one has an asthma attack. Hence it is always advised to make sure that the plan is easily accessible.
These are few simple yet effective ways through which one can take control of the winter asthma symptoms.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article in the form of text, tips, suggestions, and products, which comprises general advice for consumers. It is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Cipla. 1mg does not endorse any brands and is not responsible for their efficacy.
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