Q: How can I manage my asthma during the winter months?
We provide a lot of education in our office for people with asthma. The most important aspect of asthma management is identifying the triggers. These tips can help you avoid winter asthma flare-ups:
- Avoid breathing cold, dry air. Cold air can irritate the small tubes of the lungs and trigger coughing or wheezing. Stay indoors as much as possible. Use your inhaler 15 to 20 minutes before going outside to prevent airway tightening.
- Know and avoid your indoor triggers. Avoid the hot, dry air of a fireplace. Sometimes molds, dust, animal dander, cockroaches or old carpets trigger asthma. Try to identify and remove these irritants from your home.
- Protect yourself from colds and flu. Colds and flu can worsen asthma symptoms. Wash your hands regularly, and get your flu shot.
Asthma can be worse in children. Children with asthma should carry a rescue inhaler if there is concern about coming into contact with triggers. Also, talk with your doctor about taking a maintenance steroid inhaler.