Cold air in winters can lead to dryness and irritation around the airways, and thus worsen or rekindle an Asthma. Even the Smog (air pollutants plus fog) tends to irritate the airway and increase allergic Asthma.
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects million people in India. It’s a respiratory disease that makes breathing difficult and often symptoms of asthma allergy are lung spasms, wheezing, and chest tightness. But with the right knowledge and resources, it is not difficult to cope with Asthma in winters. With adequate awareness and precautions, the asthmatics can reduce the number of winter-related asthma attacks they may have otherwise.
When you have an asthma attack, the airways of your lungs narrow due to inflammation and your body produces more mucus. This can make you feel short of breath, as though you can’t get enough air, and it may also trigger wheezing, chest tightness and coughing as associated symptoms.
The onset causes of asthma attacks, called triggers, also vary from person to person, with some people having attacks closely associated with allergies or other respiratory conditions. Asthma can’t be cured, and it sometimes changes over time, getting better or worse. As a result, living with asthma is typically a symptom management process.
Tips To Control Allergic Asthma During Winters:
For those who have greater difficulty with asthma symptoms during the winter months, here are tips that may help you cope more easily:
- Understand your asthma triggers: Though it may take time and trial and error to identify the factors that start your asthma attacks, your knowledge of these is a powerful weapon in your asthma management efforts.
- Take your medications as prescribed: Always use your preventer inhaler as instructed by your doctor and carry your reliever inhaler, using it at the first sign of symptoms.
- Use a scarf over your nose and mouth: Loosely draped, a scarf provides you with a mix of warm and cold air, so the effects of outside air are limited, preventing colder air from drying your air passages.
- Exercise indoors: If your usual routine includes walks around the park, consider moving indoors, and do yoga or badminton, particularly if you’re prone to exercise-related asthma effects. Or do brisk walking instead of run.
- Practice deliberate nose breathing: Breathing through your nose also warms air more effectively than mouth breathing, so extreme cold air is moderated better before reaching your lungs.
- Protect yourself against cold and flu: Winter is also prime time for respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu, which can create additional asthma problems, so consider a flu shot and extra hand-washing to reduce your risk.
- Limit your contact with pets: Animal dander is another common asthma trigger, so even making your bedroom a pet-free zone for a while may improve your ability to breathe through the winter months.
- Control humidity in your houses to prevent growth of dust mites, fungii, insects. Keep it less than 75%, using cross ventilation and moisture absorbers or a dehumidifier. Keep indoor conditions cool and dry: If dust mites are a trigger, keep your home cool and dry to present mites with a hostile environment for growth.
- Yearly flu vaccine before the onset of winters, always helps to prevent severe viral pneumonia.
Dr Sneha Tirpude is Asthma and Allergy specialist, so if your self-care efforts fall short, you can book an appointment for treatment of Asthma allergy in Pune.