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How to Weather Asthma Year Round

How to Weather Asthma Year Round

Different times of year carry different asthma risks. Learn how to manage asthma in spring, summer, fall and winter.

If your asthma is sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, weather and air quality, you may need to adjust your treatment approach to manage asthma effectively during different times of the year. Here is a quick overview of some of the most common seasonal asthma triggers, along with some tips on how best to manage your symptoms for each season and a few additional tips for managing asthma year round.

Winter
Breathing in cold dry air can make your asthma flare. But hibernating indoors probably won't solve the problem since there are plenty of triggers to be found inside as well. You can protect your airways by covering your mouth and nose with a scarf when heading outdoors, and you should also skip strenuous outdoor activities in very cold weather. Indoors, pay attention to your triggers and do your best to avoid them—remember that Christmas trees and indoor fires can also act as triggers. Since the risk of flu and other illnesses can also pose a serious threat for asthmatics in the winter, stay away from sick people, avoid germs as much as possible and get your annual flu shot.

Spring
When grass, flowers and trees spring into bloom, pollen and other allergens are released and cause asthma symptoms to flare. As with indoor allergies, pay attention to what seems to trigger your asthma so you can take steps to avoid these allergens. Pollen and mold counts are often lower in the early mornings and the evenings, so plan outdoor activities for safer times of day. If you want to garden or do yard work, wear a mask to avoid breathing in allergens, and be cautious with bug spray and citronella candles, which can aggravate symptoms. Giving your home a good cleaning regularly to remove any allergens can help keep symptoms under control. You can also talk to your healthcare provider about allergy medications.

Summer
Summer can take a real toll on asthmatics, with its combination of hot, humid air and plentiful allergens. On days when air quality isn’t optimal, it’s recommended to stay inside with the windows closed and let your air conditioner filter allergens from the air and keep temps cool. Like in the spring, monitor the pollen count and air quality regularly so you can find the best times to plan any essential outdoor activities. Also be wary of mold, which is common in summer. Showering and washing your clothes after spending time outdoors can help keep allergens from your hair and skin. Remember that campfires, smoke from grills and fireworks can irritate airways.

Fall
Allergies and illness are the top asthma triggers in the autumn months. Ragweed, fall pollens and mold can be particularly prevalent, and the start of the school year can mean an increase in exposure to colds and flus for many families. If you have allergic asthma, taking seasonal allergy medications can help prevent asthma symptoms. It's also a good idea to remove dead leaves from your yard so they don't worsen your condition (be sure to wear a mask when doing yard work). Protect yourself by getting your flu shot as soon as possible and practice illness prevention precautions, including washing your hands well with soap and water and steering clear of public places where you'll come into contact with lots of germs.

Managing asthma all year long
While your asthma may change with the coming of each new season, there are some basic components of managing your condition that should remain consistent throughout the year. It's important to have an updated asthma action plan and to follow it diligently all year round. Always have your rescue inhaler on hand. Take your control medication as directed. Monitor your symptoms so you'll recognize changes in your breathing at the very earliest stage. Exercise regularly, eat well and get plenty of sleep, which can help keep your immune system strong, and see your healthcare provider as needed.

Medically reviewed in May 2018.

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