Why Does Cold Air Affect Asthma?

Winter months and cold air are hard on asthma.

Here are several reasons why:

Cold air is dry.

The airways transporting oxygen to your lungs are lined with fluid. If the air you breath is dry this fluid evaporates quicker than it can be replaced. Without that thin layer of fluid, dry airways become irritated and swollen.

Cold air also stimulates your body to produce histamine. If you have allergies, you are familiar with histamine – it’s is the same chemical your body makes during an allergy attack.

Cold increases mucus.

In addition to keeping your airways moist, this thin layer of fluid also helps to remove unhealthy particles.

Cold weather prompts your body to produce a thicker, stickier mucus. This extra mucus makes you more likely to catch a cold or other infection.

Indoor Air Recirculates Germs and Allergens

Colds, flu, and other respiratory infections, which are known to set off asthma symptoms are prevalent during the winter months. Indoors you’ll also find more dust, mold, and pet dander indoors, setting off asthma symptoms in some people.

What Precautions Should I Take?
Make sure your asthma is under control before winter arrives. Be sure to fully understand your Asthma Treatment Plan.

Long-term controller medicines are drugs you take every day to manage your asthma symptoms. They include inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta-agonists, and leukotriene modifiers.

Quick-relief medicines are medicines that you only take when you need them, such as before exercising in the cold. Short-acting bronchodilators and anticholinergics are examples of these drugs.

More Asthma Control Tips from our friends at Healthline:

Drink extra fluids in the winter. This can keep the mucus in your lungs thinner and easier for your body to remove.
Try to avoid anyone who appears to be sick.
Get your flu vaccine early in the fall.
Vacuum and dust your home often to remove indoor allergens.
Wash your sheets and blankets every week in hot water to get rid of dust mites.
To prevent asthma attacks when you exercise outdoors in cold weather:

Use your inhaler 15 to 30 minutes before you exercise to open up your airways so you can breathe easier.
Carry an inhaler with you in case you have an asthma attack.
Warm up for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you work out.
Wear a mask or scarf over your face to warm the air you breathe in.