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Winter Blues: Is the Cold Weather Affecting Your Asthma Symptoms?

Winter Blues: Is the Cold Weather Affecting Your Asthma Symptoms?

Mar 1, 2023

What is asthma?

“Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in your lungs,” said Scott Rosenberg, M.D, of Inspira Medical Group Pulmonology. “It causes them to produce extra mucus and become inflamed, swollen and narrowed.” Asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. 

Asthma is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It’s often managed with inhaled medications, such as bronchodilators and corticosteroids, which control symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. In some severe cases, your doctor may recommend allergy shots or another type of allergy treatment. 

How does cold weather affect asthma symptoms?

Cold weather can easily trigger asthma flare-ups, especially when the air lacks humidity. For many people with asthma, the dryness of cold air irritates the airways, leading to breathing problems such as coughing and wheezing. Cold air can also cause the airways to constrict, making it more difficult to breathe and leading to additional asthma symptoms. 

“The threat of respiratory infections is more common during the winter months, including the common cold, flu and COVID-19, which can further exacerbate asthma symptoms,” said Dr. Rosenberg. “It’s important for people with asthma to take extra precaution during the colder months.” 

Protecting yourself from the effects of cold weather on your asthma symptoms

Taking the following steps can help you protect yourself from the effects of cold, dry weather on your asthma:

  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home 
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities in cold weather
  • Limit your time outdoors on extremely cold days
  • Bundle up when going outside and dress in layers  

If you experience worsening asthma symptoms in the winter, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on all vaccinations, including flu and COVID-19. Doing so reduces your risk of respiratory infections. 

Also, be sure to keep your rescue inhaler with you at all times, and use it as directed by your doctor. By taking these steps to minimize the effect of cold weather on your asthma symptoms, you can help ensure you stay healthy during the cold winter months. 

Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.

Topics: Asthma