Coping with asthma throughout the winter months

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Figures show more people die from asthma attacks in December and January compared to any other month of the year.

For many people struggling with asthma, winter is a challenge.

Whilst going outside can trigger asthma attacks through breathing in cold air, staying inside isn’t much safer. Triggers such as mould,Asthma in winter pet fur even open fires can leave you at risk in your own home.

Asthma sufferer, 28-year-old Danielle McCoy explains, “I keep my chest well wrapped up by wearing vests or thick jumpers or wearing scarfs around my neck also when I’m in the house I wear dressing gowns so cold can’t get in anywhere”.

In the UK alone 5.4 people are diagnosed with asthma, 1.1 million being children under the age of 16. Each day 185 people are admitted into hospital as a result of an asthma attack.

“[it]feels like every breath’s your last breath.” Danielle said, “You’re just thinking where are you gonna get the strength to actually breath because it hurts so much”.

With temperatures dropping fast we look at survival tips and triggers to make it safely though the winter.

Winter Survival Guide:

Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth and nose – Doing this warms up the air before you breathe it in lowering the chances of your asthma being triggered.

Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth – Much like wrapping a scarf around your mouth, breathing through your nose allows the air you breathe in to be warmed up.

Take preventer (brown) inhaler as prescribed – Naturally to prevent asthma attacks follow the advice of your doctor. Your preventer inhaler helps reduce swelling, inflammation and sensitivity of your airways over time.

Always carry your reliever (blue) inhaler with you – Even if you have your asthma under control today you could be suffering Asthma in winter tomorrow so its best to be safe then sorry. However, if you find yourself using it more than normal its best to book in an appointment with your GP.

Keep in close contact with your doctor – To make an asthma action plan or just to keep a check of your doses

Get your flu jabs – In winter flu and diseases are all around and can be a common trigger for asthma. Stay on top of your asthma by keeping on top of your jabs.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast – Different weather conditions can have adverse effects on your asthma. Be up to date with the weather forecast so you can prep yourself ahead of time. For more information on different forecast actions plans visit. https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/weather/

Common and possibly surprising triggers for asthma in winter: 

Flu and diseases – Naturally the colder months bring an increase in contagious illnesses. Illnesses that inflame the airways and lungs can have disastrous effects for those with asthma.

Scented Candles – Typically popular in the winter months scented candle can be an irritant for those with asthma, with 65% of suffers reporting them as a trigger.

Open fires – Burning wood gives off fine particles that can inflame the airways causing asthma attacks. Keeping open fires well ventilated and swept is key.

Mould on Christmas trees – The festive fir be home to natural grown mould which when breathed in can irritate the lungs and airways. Fake trees aren’t a safer alternative as they can gather dust and mould when stored throughout the year.

Dust mites – Dust mites, the main cause of dust allergies, can multiply when the heating is on. Causing the air ways to inflame in turn triggering an asthma attack.

For more information visit: https://www.asthma.org.uk/

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