While spring and summer pollen is often thought of as the primary asthma hazard, other seasons present their own challenges. As temperatures dip, you may notice your symptoms worsening both in the home and outside.
Thankfully, there are ways to manage this condition while still enjoying the holidays. Whether you, your child, or another loved one suffers from asthma, these five tips will help keep winter safe, active, and comfortable.
Avoiding Smoke From Wood Fireplaces
Wood stoves may provide a warm and cozy atmosphere on cold nights, but they can also have an impact on your lungs. Whenever you smell that familiar aroma of a crackling fire, you are breathing in irritating particles of smoke. This exposure adds up over time, increasing your chances of developing conditions like bronchitis and even certain cancers.
If you have a wood stove in your home and notice your breathing seems to be getting worse, it may be wise to limit its use or invest in a better air circulation system. When visiting homes with wood stoves, do your best to stay on the other side of the room, where leaking smoke is less likely to trigger an asthmatic response. Leave the room and take a walk if you notice the early symptoms of an asthma attack.
Managing Holiday Stress
The stress of the holiday season can harm your health in a number of ways. Besides making you more prone to illnesses like colds and the flu, it may also worsen your asthma. Stress causes physical changes in the body, including inflammation in your airways and altered breathing patterns. If you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to calm down and regulate your breathing before continuing on your way.
Warming Frosty Air As You Breathe
When you step outside on a frosty morning, the sudden shock of icy air in your lungs may trigger an asthma attack. You can't hide inside your house all winter, of course, so you will need to find a way to shield your lungs from the elements. The simplest way to do this is to wear a scarf over your nose and mouth while walking outside. Always warm up before exercising.
Keeping Your Sinuses Clear
Keeping Your Sinuses Clear
Asthma is linked to chronic sinus infections, which can, in turn, trigger more asthma attacks. Because of this, managing your sinuses during winter is especially important in order to control the condition. Be sure to get your flu shots each year to reduce your chances of getting sick. Basic hygiene measures like sanitizing your hands and avoiding bathroom door handles can go a long way toward keeping you on your feet and breathing freely.
Moving Activities Indoors
When possible, it's best to not expose your lungs to cold, wintry air. Minimize your time outdoors by moving any hobbies you can inside. If you jog or bicycle regularly, for example, you may want to consider treating yourself to a gym membership or home equipment. When you do head out, dress warmly and wear a scarf to protect yourself from lung irritation.
Spending more time in the house comes with its own challenges, however. Indoor air pollution tends to increase in the winter, since houses that are shut tight against the cold have less circulation. This leads to more free-floating asthma triggers in the air over time. Clean your carpets and upholstery regularly to cut down on dust, and watch for mold growing in damp areas.
Whenever you find yourself struggling with increased asthma attacks, don't hesitate to visit a professional allergist like the specialists at Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Fort Worth. You can make it through the winter season without sacrificing your health, comfort, and safety, but only with the right preparation. A specialist can help you identify the most likely asthma triggers in your life and work with you to reduce or eliminate them for good.