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Managing Asthma in the Winter

For many patients with asthma, cold weather can worsen their symptoms. This is due to the cold dry air outdoors and increased exposure to indoor allergens, such as mold, dust, and pet dander. Below are some tips to limit the effects of the cold weather on your asthma:

  • ·Get your flu shot!

o   The effects of the flu can be more serious in asthmatic patients. Protect yourself by receiving the flu vaccine.

  • ·Limit your risk of getting a cold

o   Wash your hands regularly and stay away from people that are sick.

  • ·Add warmth and moisture to the air you breathe

o   Cold air is dry. Breathing dry air depletes the natural fluid that is found in the body’s airways. Dry airways become swollen and irritated which can worsen asthma symptoms. Breathe through your nose so that your nasal passages may warm and humidify the air before it gets to your lungs. Another way to do this is to wrap your scarf around your nose and mouth.

  • ·Minimize your exposure to indoor allergens

o   Dust and vacuum your home regularly, eradicate all traces of mold, and place a HEPA air filter in common areas and bedrooms.

  • ·Limit your time around the fireplace

o   Smoke can irritate your lungs and exacerbate your asthma symptoms

  • ·Keep your asthma action plan handy and follow up with your asthma specialist periodically
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