The winter season is the time of get-togethers, family dinners, and enjoyment, but winter can take your breath away if you have asthma because asthma in the winter season is worse. Asthma is a long-term disease of the lungs in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This condition can cause wheezing, coughing, and difficulty in breathing. It can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. In the winter season, cold air contains moist, harboring mold spores and dust mites, which cause your airways to seize up and bronchial passageways to spasm and close off, resulting in worsening asthma.
What are the winter asthma triggers?
People with asthma often find that asthma in the winter season gets worse. It is due to the several winter asthmas triggers around them as given below:
- Cold weather
- Colds and flu
- Chest infections
- Damp and mold
- Dust mites
- Central heating, open fires, and wood-burning stoves
Why is asthma in the winter season worse?
Symptoms of asthma in the winter season get worse due to the following reasons:
i. Dry atmospheric air
A layer of fluid encloses and protects the airways of your lungs. When you breathe in cold air, the layer of protected fluid evaporates, causing your airways to become inflamed and irritated, which triggers asthma in the winter season.
ii. Respiratory illness
A layer of mucus protects the airways in the lungs. When you inhale cold air, this layer of mucus can thicken, increasing your chance of getting respiratory infections like the common cold, chest infection, or flu. These respiratory infections may cause swelling and irritation of your airways, which trigger asthma in the winter season.
Exercise may also be a triggering factor because exercise requires increased lung capacity. When you walk and breathe in cold air, your airways can become restricted, triggering symptoms such as cough and breathlessness.
iv. Mold and mites
If you’re allergic to mold and mites, then your asthma in the winter season can get worse because mold spores are often found in our air in the winter season. When you inhale air, these spores enter your respiratory system and cause infection, which triggers asthma symptoms in the winter season.
v. Open fires and wood-burning stoves
Open fires and wood-burning stoves release pollutants in the air such as COx, SOx, NOx, and particulate matter, which could worsen your asthma symptoms on inhalation.
Are asthma symptoms different in the winter than in other months?
Symptoms of asthma in the winter season remain the same as in other seasons, but the difference is asthma in winter is challenging to control; symptoms are worse than usual and occur more often in winter.
What are the symptoms of asthma in winter?
There are the following common symptoms of asthma in the winter season and other seasons:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
How can you prevent asthma in the winter season?
You can prevent asthma attacks triggered by cold weather by following the given strategies:
- Drink a lot of water, soups, juices, and decaffeinated tea to keep yourself hydrated.
- Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent respiratory diseases such as colds and flu after each minute.
- Breathe through the nose when you’re outside because the nose warms up air before moving in.
- Get the influenza vaccination each year to prevent getting sick in winter.
- Find alternative ways to exercise if you usually exercise outdoors.
- If you have an indoor fireplace, try to keep it empty when not in use.
- Take your asthma medications daily without skipping any dose.
- If you’re prone to a winter asthma attack, consult your doctor and make a plan.
What kind of advanced treatment is given when your asthma in the winter season is not controlled?
When your asthma worsens for a longer time, it may cause anxiety, an increased heart rate, coughing, chest pain, wheezing, and rapid breathing. In this condition, you may be given treatments such as oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, and steroids to help get the inflammation in your airways.
Asthma is a lung disease in which airways get swollen, inflamed, and produce extra mucus. The common asthma symptoms are coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing, but these symptoms in the winter season may worsen due to a few triggers around you. Asthma in winter is triggered due to exercise, respiratory diseases, dust mites, molds, and open fires. These factors can be overcome by taking preventive measures such as washing hands daily, drinking a lot of water, breathing through the nose, getting vaccination annually, and taking asthma medicines regularly. Worsen asthma in the winter season can be cured by oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, or steroids.