All people living with asthma have a series of ‘triggers’ that will provoke an attack. During the colder winter months, there are climate and other issues that can combine to exacerbate asthma symptoms. Below are outlined some of the possible problems and suggestions for mitigation to assist with winter asthma treatment.
Potential triggers for asthma during winter weather
There are a number of factors that can trigger asthma attacks during the wintertime. Common issues found at this time of year include:
- Chest infections
- Cold or damp air
- Home heating systems
- Damp or mold in the home
Chest infections become more common during the cold winter months, and this can lead to inflammation of the airways, which will obviously be detrimental to asthma sufferers.
Cold or damp air
The air at this time of the year may be cold or damp. Both of these can lead to mucus developing which will always impact negatively on a person with asthma. Colder winter weather can also lead to mold growth developing in the home.
Home heating systems
The use of open fires or wood-burning stoves can produce pollutants that may not normally be found within a property during warmer weather. These could cause asthma symptoms to develop. Even the use of central heating may produce problems if the system is old or the boiler has not been recently serviced.
Possible solutions for increased asthma issues in the winter
Several actions can be taken to reduce or even prevent the issues surrounding asthma sufferers during cold weather.
- Receive a flu vaccine
- Reduce time outside of the home
- Wear a scarf or mask when outdoors
- Use a humidifier in the house
- Wash hands regularly
- Keep away from pets if possible
- Maintain rooms to be cool and dry
As indicated, get a flu vaccine, reduce time spent outdoors in extremely cold weather, and wear a scarf or mask over the mouth and nose. Within the house, try to wash hands regularly and always after contact with pets. If possible, maintain room temperatures to be both cool and dry. An obvious, but often overlooked, tip is to keep away from people who are suffering from cold or flu symptoms.
Prepare for winter
It would be wise to consult with a doctor before the onset of winter. As asthma sufferers would typically consult with their physician quite regularly, it should be a simple matter to detail an action plan for possible asthma treatment during the cold weather months. If a flu jab is required, then the doctor will be able to arrange this.
Make sure that there will always be easy access to an inhaler. You should also consider visiting a local pharmacy or a specialty compounding pharmacy to collect regular supplies, before severe winter weather arrives. Have access to prescriptions for all required medications.
Children and young adults
Visit the doctor and create an action plan. Where the child attends a school, inform the nurse or medical department of any outstanding issues. Identify and try to avoid any personal triggers which may be problematic for an individual child.
Each person may have their own personal triggers which are the source of an asthma attack. Where possible, these should be identified and action taken to avoid situations where such issues may exist. Preventative action will always be a great advantage when deployed as part of asthma treatment.
Always consult with the doctor prior to the winter season and act on the advice given.