Tips to Avoid Cold Air
To protect yourself from asthma flare-ups due to chilly weather, Wedner offers these suggestions:
Cover your face: Drape a scarf across your mouth and nose, or wear a winter face mask that covers the bottom half of your face.
Exercise indoors. Work out at a gym or inside your home, or walk laps inside a mall.
Treating Winter Asthma
People with asthma not only use quick-relief meds; they often need to take medicine every day for long-term asthma control. But sometimes they make the mistake of stopping the medications when they no longer feel symptoms, Wedner says.
So, even if you haven’t had a flare-up for a long time, be sure to follow your doctor’s directions for controlling your asthma. As winter nears, make sure you have current prescriptions for all medications.
Talk to your doctor about an asthma action plan, says Daniel Jackson, MD, of the University of Wisconsin. The plan should make it clear when to take each type of medication and when to call the doctor or call for emergency medical help. Divide the plan into three categories or zones:
- How to handle your asthma when you’re feeling good and have no symptoms.
- What to do if you start to have symptoms.
- The steps to take if your symptoms are severe or you can’t control them.
You probably won’t need to change your action plan for the winter, Jackson says. But since you may be more likely to need it during the cold months, make sure you review your plan before winter and keep it handy.
Tips for Children
As winter approaches, you can help your child have fewer asthma problems, too:
- Give them some responsibility for keeping their asthma under control. This includes knowing how to avoid triggers and how to follow their action plan.
- Discuss your child’s action plan with the school nurse.
- Teach the importance of proper hand washing, especially during cold and flu season.