Winter is here !! Many, but not all, asthmatics have more trouble with asthma in winters than at other times.
What is it about winters that it causes trouble to asthmatics? Well, the reasons could be many, but the common ones are:
1. Viral infections of the respiratory system are more common in winters. Asthmatics already have twitchy or oversensitive air tubes and a viral infection hits them hard and makes them more congested and wheezy. Moreover, the wheezing of viral infections(as opposed to the wheezing of allergens) is NOT very responsive to medication.
Tips: While it is impossible to avoid viral infections completely, a lot can be done to minimize them. Frequent hand washing, especially before eating, helps. Avoid overcrowded places. Take the usual sensible precautions when near a patient who is coughing and sneezing. Keep yourself well covered. Drink plenty of warm fluids – chicken soup or ginger water and honey.
2. Opening trunks and bed boxes to take out the woolens, blankets and quilts often cause exposure to fungal spores and aggravate asthma.
Tips: This job should be entrusted to some other family member. The clothes and quilts that are musty should be shown sunlight for 2-3 days before using them.
3. Cold air itself can act as a physical trigger is some asthma patients. Moreover, cold air is drier and can cause osmotic changes in the air tubes to cause wheezing. This can be particularly important for people who engage in sports activity.
Tips: Before going out into the cold air, one should be well covered, especially the face and nose area. This is best achieved by using a muffler around the neck and covering the face and nose with it. Keeping the nose warm has been shown to lessen the bad effect of exercise on asthma. Breathing through the nose warms up the inhaled air. Exercise indoors when it is particularly cold and windy. Take inhalers regularly before exercise.
4. Closed doors and windows during winter to prevent cold air entering inside is also one of the reasons of asthma trigger. Closed spaces prevent air circulation, leading to higher concentrations of indoor allergens. On top of that, people spend more time indoors during the winter, and therefore more time surrounded by – and breathing in – indoor allergens.
Tips: Try maintaining proper air circulation inside your house and at the workplace.
Winters do pose some special challenges to asthmatics, but with proper knowledge as well as the resources to cope with them, asthma sufferers can help effectively reduce the number of winter-related asthma.
Breathe well this winter!