Cold winter air can make it hard to breathe, no matter who you are, but for those with asthma, winter can be downright unbearable. The number of asthma flare-ups typically increases during winter months. One of the reasons for this is that people tend to spend more time indoors during the winter. The other reason is that cold, dry winter air makes it harder to breathe.
Air pollutants in the home like dust and pet dander can trigger asthma. Make sure that your air filter is changed often. An air filter helps remove pollutants and particulates from the air, and improves the air quality in your home. Also, be sure to clean your house regularly to reduce the amount of air pollution. Vacuuming and dusting are a great way to get rid of mites and other things that can potentially trigger your asthma.
If you have a green thumb, consider adding some houseplants to your home. NASA conducted a study that showed that house plants can actually improve the air quality in your home by increasing oxygen levels and removing air pollutants. Plus, it’s just nice to have a plant in your house!
However, it’s not all about the air indoors. Cold, dry winter air can be a nightmare for people with asthma. Cold air is right up there with dust mites and pet dander for triggering asthma, but unlike mites and dander, you can’t just vacuum the cold out of the air. You can, however, take measures to better handle the cold.
Wear a scarf, balaclava, or neck gaiter that you can use to cover your mouth and nose when you’re outside in the winter. That fabric will act as a screen that can help warm and humidify the air as you’re breathing.
Try to avoid intense outdoor exercise. Sure, running in the park on a beautiful winter day beats trudging along on a treadmill indoors, but the heavier you have to breathe, the harder your lungs have to work. If cold air triggers your asthma, keep your cardio inside.
Ultimately, the best way to cope with asthma during the winter is to make sure that your asthma is in check. If you have asthma, you should meet with your healthcare provider to make sure that it is under control. For more information, visit our Asthma Clinic.