Asthma: Managing Winter Triggers

It’s that time of year again, the cold weather outside keeps us indoors more. Cold, dry air outside may cause airways to constrict or tighten, making breathing more difficult for asthmatics. Indoor triggers such as dust, smoke, and pet dander can also worsen asthma symptoms. With triggers outside and indoors, it is more important than ever to keep your child’s asthma under control and to have a written Asthma Action Plan. If you do not have a written asthma action plan, please discuss this with your child’s doctor as soon as possible.

Winter is the season for colds and influenza. Viral infections and cold air can trigger asthma attacks. To manage asthma triggers during the winter months, make sure that your child wears a scarf around their mouth and breathe through their nose as much as possible when outdoors. Nose breathing warms and humidifies the air going to the lungs and decreases the chance for cold, dry air to trigger an asthma attack.

Your child should not be exposed to others that have a cold or flu like symptoms. To reduce the spread of disease, teach your child to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth. Also encourage them to wash their hands after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing and before preparing food and eating.

Ensure that your child is not exposed to smoke from tobacco, fireplaces, and wood stoves as they can trigger an asthma attack.

Ask your pediatrician about the influenza vaccine, and make sure your child takes their asthma medications as prescribed by their physician. It is especially important that you communicate with your child’s physician if they have asthma symptoms that are persistent or severe.

 

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