Winter can be a tough time to stay healthy for a lot of reasons. Bad weather and short days mean most of us are living a more sedentary lifestyle during this time of year, reaching for comfort foods and sapping our vitamin D supply. And that’s not to mention what the cold, dry days can do to your skin. For people with asthma, just breathing can be more of a challenge during the wintertime, with many reporting more frequent asthma attacks when it gets colder out. There are a couple of different reasons why asthma might pose more of a problem during this frigid time of year, and it’s important to be aware of what might place you at a higher risk of respiratory issues.
When air is inhaled through the nose or mouth, it gains warmth and moisture which allows it to be more easily processed by the lungs. Breathing cold air requires more energy from the body, and this process can also dry out the airways. This can cause the respiratory system to tighten, resulting in an asthma attack. Strenuous physical activity is a common contributor, and people will frequently find themselves having more difficulty breathing during outdoor winter activities such as running or shoveling the driveway. You can reduce your risk of cold-related asthma attacks by:
While the weather outside is frightful, it’s also important to account for the asthma triggers that can affect us when we’re not leaving the house. The home can be a minefield of respiratory irritants such as pet dander, dust, and mold. Triggers differ from person to person, but breathing in one or more of these can also cause spasms and tightening of the airways. Talk to a doctor to establish which triggers are connected to your asthma symptoms, and take necessary precautions, such as:
In addition to the coronavirus pandemic that is still ongoing, wintertime means cold and flu season, which can have a nasty effect on your respiratory system. Make sure that you’re washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, and avoid close contact with people who are sick. You can also get a flu shot to reduce your risk.
Being aware of your asthma symptoms and what is most likely to cause a flare-up is key to protecting your respiratory health. Keep track of when you have asthma attacks in order to identify triggers and keep your doctor apprised of any patterns or recurring issues. Medical Offices of Manhattan also offers allergy tests that can pinpoint which irritants are the likely source of the issue.