Asthma is a long-term health condition that affects many people. In fact, it’s calculated that there are 5.4 million sufferers in the UK. If you’ve been diagnosed, you’ll understand how debilitating this condition can be.
The most common asthma symptoms include coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and a tight chest, and there are a number of triggers that can cause your asthma to flare up. For some, changes in the weather can set off symptoms. If you notice that your asthma is particularly bad in certain weather conditions, keep reading. Here are some tips on how you can cope with your health problem despite the changing temperatures.
Some people find that hot weather can worsen their asthma symptoms. It’s thought that as the temperatures rise, breathing in the warm air can cause the airways to narrow, leading to difficulties breathing and coughing fits. Also, on warmer days there is more likely to be an increased amount of pollen, pollution and mould in the air, all of which can set off a person’s symptoms.
During spells of hot weather, there are a couple of ways you can keep your condition under control. Firstly, it’s vital that you carry your inhaler, making sure not to leave it in direct sunlight, such as in your car, as this could prevent it from working effectively. If you have a pollen allergy, it’s also important to keep an eye on the pollen count in your area, and if it’s high, make sure you take the right steps to manage your hay fever.
Cold, damp days
Cold, damp weather can also have a negative impact on asthma sufferers. Asthma UK reports that around 75 per cent of people with the condition claim that they’re much more likely to experience symptoms on a chilly day. This may be because if cold or damp air enters the airways, they can go into spasm, which in turn can set off coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.
However, there’s no reason why you should suffer as the weather gets colder. To prevent the plummeting temperatures from bringing on your asthma symptoms, it helps to keep warm and dry. From wearing gloves, to wrapping up in a scarf, to carrying an umbrella, staying cosy is a must. It’s also crucial that you keep your inhaler with you at all times. If you start to notice that you’re using your inhaler more than usual, you should speak to your GP as they may need to review your medication.
Although it’s not fully understood why it happens, it’s believed that thunderstorms can trigger asthma attacks for some sufferers. It’s thought that the combination of high humidity levels and windy conditions can cause mould spores and pollen to be swept up into the air, where the moisture breaks them down into smaller particles. The small pollen and mould pieces can be easily breathed into the lungs, irritating the airways and accentuating asthma symptoms.
If a thunderstorm is forecast, there are a few things you can do keep your asthma under control. For example, it’s a good idea to stay indoors, making sure to keep the windows and doors closed. If you have been outside in these conditions, you should have a shower to wash off any pollen and change your clothes. It’s also vital that you have your inhaler to hand, and avoid doing anything that might set off your asthma, such as exercising or consuming alcohol.
Despite the changing temperatures and fluctuating weather conditions, there are a variety of steps you can take to keep your asthma under control.