You may notice your asthma becomes less easily controlled during the winter months. Here are some explanations why this happens –
- Air temperature changes
The colder temperature along with the air being drier can irritate the airways leading to more mucous production. This can cause bronchial constriction and wheezing.
- Respiratory illnesses
During the winter months, respiratory illness, such as colds and influenza, are more prevalent. They are spread more readily with people spending more time indoors together. Additionally, because colder air causes the lungs to produce a thicker layer of mucous, your chances of contracting an illness are increased.
- Outdoor exercise
Breathing in colder air causes restriction in the airways. In someone asthmatic this can lead wheezing and coughing. These symptoms are exacerbated by exercise which requires an increased lung capacity.
Steps to prevent asthma exacerbations, particularly during the winter include –
Drink lots of fluids and avoid caffeine. Keeping hydrated aids blood flow and consequently helps circulate white blood cells more readily, allowing them to fight illness like cold and flu more readily.
- Hand washing
Wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and water to limit exposure to illnesses.
- Mask when indoors
- Get your flu and covid vaccinations
- Avoid air pollutants such as firepits
- Use humidifiers especially when sleeping
- Be compliant with daily asthma medications
Deborah Mogelof, MD
Medical Director and Attending Physician
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