Relieve Your Asthma During Weather Changes
Asthma is a respiratory condition that can make breathing difficult, and symptoms may change with the seasons. The occasional asthma flare-up may occur as temperatures and weather conditions fluctuate. Does breathing get more difficult for you when the seasons change?
Read on to learn more about why this happens, and what you can do to minimize the issue so you can breathe easier all year.
Asthma Flare-Up: Fall and Winter
When the temperatures drop in fall and winter, it can cause your lungs to tighten if you suffer from asthma. While there’s no concrete evidence showing that cold air can make your asthma worse, there have been some studies showing it does make symptoms more intense.
In 2001, a Canadian study found that more than twice the number of asthma patients were hospitalized in October than they were in July and August. This study was conducted over a 12-year period and garnered similar results each year.
Cold, dry air can certainly put a strain on the lungs, but that’s not the only reason that these seasons can cause problems. It’s also the time of year when cold and flu is at their peak, which can also make asthma symptoms worse.
Those suffering from asthma will experience more intense symptoms if they get a cold on top of it. If you get the flu, you’re much more prone to dealing with pneumonia if you have asthma, too.
Aside from cold, dry air, and the possibility of catching a cold or flu, there are other reasons why the cooler seasons could make asthma symptoms worse. Smoke and soot from fireplaces can irritate the lungs of asthma patients and cause breathing troubles to intensify.
Springtime and Asthma
Fall and winter aren’t the only times that weather changes can cause asthma flare-up symptoms. During spring, trees and flowers release pollen into the air, which can also make breathing more difficult.
Children who play outside and those who like to exercise outdoors can be particularly vulnerable to pollen-related issues. Most trees release pollen around March, and grass pollen tends to be at its peak around May or June.
The pollen season tends to be shorter in colder regions, while it’s much more intense in warmer climates. Even if you don’t have pollen allergies, breathing in this substance can irritate your lungs and make your asthma worse.
In addition to pollen, higher levels of humidity as temperatures change can also affect the lungs. If your symptoms are extreme, it’s best to try and stay indoors and use the air conditioner to keep humidity levels down.
Springtime rains can also make asthma more intense. Wet weather and moisture promote mold growth, which is a known asthma irritant.
Managing Your Symptoms
While you can’t control the weather, there are some things you can do to minimize and manage asthma flare-ups. First, learn how changes in weather affect you and pay close attention to the forecast so you can prepare:
- Try to limit outdoor activity when it’s humid, extremely cold, or when pollen levels are high. You can also wear a scarf over your mouth during cold weather. This will keep warm, moist air circulating back into your lungs as you breathe.
- Close your windows to keep pollen, dust, and mold outside. Turn on the air conditioner when it’s hot outside, and change the air filters in your HVAC system monthly to reduce indoor pollutants.
- Pollen levels tend to be highest early in the morning, so try to stay indoors until after around 10 a.m. when possible.
- Do not mow the lawn or rake leaves since these activities can stir up a wide range of outdoor irritants.
- Always dry your clothes in the dryer instead of hanging them outside. Wet clothing that air dries can attract mold, pollen, and other irritants that can get into your lungs when you wear them.
Controlling Asthma with Medication
While these tips can help you reduce your asthma symptoms as the weather changes, medication is also recommended for those who have been diagnosed. Talk to your doctor about what prescriptions they recommend for you.
Long-term controller medication is taken every day to help keep your symptoms under control. These drugs may include inhalers, long-acting beta-agonists, or leukotriene modifiers. Your doctor can help determine which option is best for you.
In addition to long-term controller medication, you should also have an inhaled corticosteroid. These drugs can help you get quick relief, and you should only use them when you really need them.
Drugs like Omnaris can help reduce inflammation of the nasal passages and help with seasonal allergies. This prescription nasal spray helps with sneezing, hay fever, and an itchy or runny nose.
Take your quick-relief medication before exercising in the cold or before you know you may have a flare-up. A short-acting bronchodilator can help you breathe easier.
Say Goodbye to Asthma Symptoms
Although you can’t control the changing seasons, you can be proactive whenever you’re concerned about your next asthma flare-up. Close windows in spring to keep pollen outside, and avoid outdoor activity during extreme weather fluctuations.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about prescription medications that offer long-term or fast-acting relief so you can enjoy every season worry-free. Monitor your symptoms carefully in case you need to talk to your physician about possible changes to your asthma medication.
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