Asthma is, unfortunately, a condition that you have to deal with all year long. But the cold temperatures the winter months bring can often make dealing with asthma even more difficult. Upper-respiratory conditions, in general, are more complex during the winter months, especially with back pain and upper-respiratory infections being the two most common reasons for trips to the doctor’s office. So if you have a child who suffers from asthma, here are a few tips to prevent or reduce attacks during the winter.
Use Medications Wisely
Many people with asthma have medications that were prescribed by their doctor. There are two different types of asthma medications, everyday medications and medication you take only when you need it. Both of these types of medications should be used as prescribed. But during the winter, quick-relief medications should be taken before going outside. This is especially important if exercise is going to be done outside. Pretreating with medications before going outside can help open the airways and make it easier to breathe in the cold.
Cover the Nose and Mouth
Breathing in the cold air can be extremely uncomfortable for those with asthma and can easily result in difficulty breathing. This is why many people with asthma choose to cover their nose and mouth with something like a scarf or face mask when they’re going outside. Covering the nose and mouth can help warm the air before it enters the airways, which can ultimately help decrease irritation. Furthermore, this can also help keep the airways moist, aiding in more comfortable breathing. So if your child is one of the 8% of children who have asthma, make sure they take a scarf with them if they’re going to be outside for a long time.
Avoid Asthma Triggers
Just like the warmer months, winter comes with its own set of common asthma triggers. Being inside more during the winter often means breathing in dry indoor air from the HVAC system. It can help to get a humidifier to keep the air as moist as possible. Additionally, pet dander and dust can both be big triggers. Considering there are more than 75 million pet dogs in the U.S., this issue comes up quite often for people with asthma. So make sure the house is kept as clean as possible. And if there is a fireplace in the house, it may be best not to use it. If it is on, those with asthma should avoid sitting to close because the smoke and soot from the fireplace can irritate the airways. Being mindful of common triggers and avoiding them when possible can significantly reduce the risk of an attack.
Despite asthma being common, the likelihood that this condition will simply go away on its own is about 1% per year. With that in mind, it’s important for those with asthma to take necessary precautions, especially when in colder temperatures. Hopefully, the tips discussed in this article will help your children go throughout the remaining winter months with a lowered risk of experiencing an asthma attack.