Make Words Bigger or Smaller:

-A +A

Facebook Profile  Twitter Profile  Visit Our YouTube Channel

For Health, Safety, and a Better Life

Looking for a Specific Phrase? Use Quotation Marks (e.g. "healthy teeth")

Dealing with Asthma in Winter Weather

Woman breathing during the winter

Download the "Dealing with Asthma in Winter Weather" presentation here!

What is asthma?

  • When you breathe, air goes to your lungs through airways or breathing tubes.
  • Asthma is a chronic disease that causes airways to be more sensitive, making it difficult to breathe.

Asthma attacks happen when your airways get swollen and narrow.

  • An asthma attack can feel like breathing through a thin straw.
  • With less space for the air to go through, it is harder for air to get in and out of the lungs.

Who is likely to develop asthma?

  • People with family members who have asthma.
  • People with allergies.
  • People frequently exposed to irritants – like smoke, pollution, or chemicals.
  • People with frequent respiratory infections.

Asthma affects both children and adults.

  • Asthma usually starts in children between 2 to 6 years old.
  • Asthma can also develop in adulthood.
    • Someone who had asthma as a child may develop it again as an adult.

There is no cure for asthma, but asthma can be managed.

  • Ways you can prevent and treat asthma:
    • Learn about asthma
    • Ask your doctor about new developments and creating an asthma action plan
    • Take prescribed medications
    • Monitor your health and breathing patterns
    • Allergy proof your home
    • Stay indoors when pollution is high
    • Choose healthy foods you are not allergic to

Your doctor can prescribe two kinds of medication.

  • One to use when you have an attack:
    • Emergency relief medication quickly opens up your airways
    • This usually comes in an inhaler
  • Another to prevent asthma attacks:
    • You may be able to take medication daily to prevent attacks
    • This may be a pill or can come in an inhaler

Asthma attacks can be triggered by:

  • Allergic reactions to:
    • Pollen, dust, mold, cockroaches
    • Food – like milk, eggs, peanuts
  • Things that irritate your lungs:
    • Smoke, weather changes, pollution, cold/dry air, perfumes, fumes from cleaning products
  • Strenuous Activity – like exercise

Asthma attacks can also be triggered by:

  • Emotions – like anxiety, stress
  • An upper respiratory tract infection – like a cold, flu or infection in the sinuses
  • GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease

You may be having an asthma attack if you have:

  • Trouble breathing
  • A tight or painful feeling in your chest
  • A whistling or hissing sound when you breathe (called wheezing)
  • A cough

Asthma attacks often don’t stop on their own, so you need to act quickly!

  • Watch your breathing for:
    • Shortness of breath
    • Wheezing
    • Coughing
  • Keep an inhaler with you at all times.
  • Tell someone right away if you feel any signs of an asthma attack.

You can learn what triggers an asthma attack by asking yourself:

  • When did the attack happen?
  • What was I doing before the attack?
  • Where was I before the attack?
  • How was I feeling before the attack?

Avoid the triggers that cause your attacks.

  • Dust and vacuum your home often.
  • Keep indoor air clean with air filters and air conditioning.
  • Write down your allergies so you know what to avoid.
  • Prevent colds, the flu, and other infections.

Winter weather can increase the risk of asthma attacks.

  • Breathing the cold, dry winter air can trigger asthma attacks.
    • Wear a scarf or facemask over your nose and mouth to warm the air you breathe.
    • Exercise indoors, like swimming in a heated pool.
    • Drink lots of liquids to keep your airways hydrated.
  • Check out these websites to learn more about asthma.
    • Asthma Basics
    • Three steps to better asthma control
    • Tips to Remember: Asthma triggers and management
Attachment Size
FPAsthmainWinter.pdf 1.3 MB
Last updated on Thu, 06/10/2010 - 11:04