Tips for Asthma in Winter

Exercise is a common trigger for asthma and may cause symptoms in 80-90% of asthmatics. Cold dry winter air can also make breathing difficult for asthmatics. Shortness of breath, wheezing, cough or chest tightness may result. The symptoms can occur during, just after or several hours after exercise.
Here are a few exercise tips for asthmatics during the winter season.
Avoid strenuous exercise in cold dry air, as cooling and drying of the bronchial airways can trigger an asthma attack.
Avoid winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating, especially if your asthma is not properly controlled.
Use your bronchodilator inhalers, such as albuterol, 20 minutes prior to exercise.
Keep your inhalers warm in order to avoid a cold aerosol spray.
Be sure to “warm-up” and “cool-down” after strenuous exercise.
When exercising in cold air, wear a scarf or facemask over the nose and mouth to warm the air you are breathing.
Be sure to drink plenty of liquids before and after exercise to prevent drying of the airways.
Exercise indoors when outdoor temperatures drop.
The best year-round exercise for asthmatics is swimming in an indoor heated pool.

If you have Asthma be carefull with Cold Air!

There are certain weather patterns that are known to cause problems for people with asthma. Winter is one of them. Cold air is a major trigger of asthma. Scientists have studied the effects of breathing cold air. People with asthma were made to inhale cold, dry air in a hospital experiment. They developed wheezing and became short of breath.
When you inhale a blast of cold air, your airways respond by going into bronchospasm. (Bronchospasm is contraction of the airways, which causes them to get narrow.) This is because of the severe temperature difference between the outside air and your airways. Think of what you might feel if you suddenly place your hand into a bucket of freezing cold ice water!
People who have exercise-induced asthma should be especially careful about exposure to cold, dry air. Popular outdoor winter sports like hockey, figure skating and skiing require spending a lot of time outdoors. And many runners continue to jog throughout the winter months. Pre-medicate yourself before beginning activities that cause asthma symptoms to worsen. Talk to your doctor about what medication is right for your particular need.
Obviously, you can’t change the weather, but you can take steps to avoid exposure to it.

How to determine a Severe Asthma Attack?

Determine if the asthma attack is severe. Severe asthma attacks happen less frequently, but are characterized by:
-Wheezing or whistling produced by breathing in and out
-Rapid breathing
-Uncontrollable coughing
-Chest pain or chest tightening
-Difficulty talking
-Anxiety or panic
-Pale face and blue lips or fingers
-Persistence of symptoms despite use of asthma medications

In the case of a severe asthma attack, call emergency medical services. Most of the time, severe attacks will progress with few warnings. If signs do occur, it is important to treat them immediately, so that they do not lead to severe attacks.