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Beware: These Cold Weather Irritants Can Trigger an Asthma Attack

A cold-weather asthma attack happens when your respiratory tract is irritated from colder temperatures.

By Tamika Morrison OkelekePublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Beware: These Cold Weather Irritants Can Trigger an Asthma Attack
Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash

The changing of leaves signals the onset of Fall and fall-like weather which indicates colder weather is around the corner. It’s not uncommon to feel flu-like symptoms or even develop a cold with this change. It's also not uncommon for asthma suffers to start experiencing difficulties. This dip in temperature generally affects those who are asthmatic more since cold, dry air restricts airways that trigger an asthma attack.

A cold-weather asthma attack happens when your respiratory tract is irritated from colder temperatures. When the airway muscle spasms, it makes asthma symptoms difficult to control. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself needing to wait until Springtime before you can enjoy the outdoors again without the anxiety of having an attack.

Approximately 25 million Americans have asthma or 1 in 13, with more adult women reportedly living with asthma than their male counterparts. Those who live with asthma may find themselves much more susceptible to an unprovoked asthma attack if they're not careful of certain irritants.

1. Breathing through your mouth

Breathing is automatic so you will need to pay attention to how you breathe. When you breathe in frosty air through your mouth, it doesn’t warm up in your nasal passages which irritate the respiratory system. It’s natural and healthier to breathe through your nose because it helps your body effectively use the air being inhaled.

Nose breathing also filters out foreign particles, humidify inhaled air and produces nitric oxide, a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen blood vessels. This helps improve oxygen circulation in your body.

2. Outdoor Workouts

Fitness enthusiasts who have asthma should take note, their risks are heightened in the winter. It’s a good idea to consider moving activity indoors for the ease of breathing warmer air. But, if you can’t resist that jog in the park or the refreshing atmospheric air, then consider warming up about 10 - 15 minutes before beginning your outdoor workout.

You can also consider taking your jog or run during the warmest part of the day and include a face mask or scarf as part of your fitness gear. This helps to warm up the air you inhale. Keep your inhaler with you and make sure it’s filled with enough medication, and that you know how to use it properly. Remember, it’s the cold, dry air that triggers an attack and you want to be prepared.

3. Chilling by the Fireplace

Who doesn’t love an outdoor fire pit in the backyard or at a nice restaurant or better yet, sitting cozy beside the fireplace? For those prone to asthmatic attacks, it’s not advisable. Smoke is the culprit here. Even when smoke seems to be escaping up a chimney or dissolving in the open air, it can still irritate your lungs and trigger asthma symptoms.

4. Not Winterizing Your Home

It’s important to routinely winterize your home, and if you have asthma, this is a recommended lifestyle change. With the heat on inside the home and windows closed, the accumulation of pollutants created is ripe for an asthma attack.

As you begin to notice the season change, make sure you replace your air filters, use a humidifier and change your bedding once a week including your comforter then make sure you use hot water in the wash. Making these changes will get rid of mold, pet dander, and dust mites which are asthma triggers.

5. Managing SAD

Current research suggests a link between stress and stress hormones in asthma. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter stress happens at the same time every year when Fall becomes Winter.

Life is unpredictable and can bring on high stressors that trigger SAD. Illness, the death of a loved one, an increase or decrease in financial status all act as contributors that increase stress; a domino effect in health challenges including causing asthma attacks. Don’t wait until you’re feeling desperate and isolated before you seek support.

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About the Creator

Tamika Morrison Okeleke

Writer, PR Evolution Coach and Founder, Wordsmith, Soul-healer. I use words to inspire, connect, & make a difference. Follow me @1stLadyofPR.

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    Tamika Morrison OkelekeWritten by Tamika Morrison Okeleke

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