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Always wondered why the winter season is challenging for people who suffer from asthma? The reason is during winters air is cold and dry which affects the airways making them irritated, swollen and narrow which worsens asthma symptoms. Also at the same time, it increases the chances of the influenza virus to make the rounds. Fortunately, taking some precautions and making some changes in day to day life can make winter easier on asthma.
1. Get yearly flu shot - Take flu shot before the start of winter in the early fall season.
2. Wash your hands - Washing hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after you have touched an object prevents the spread of germs.
3. Stay hydrated - Drinking lots of water and fluids helps to keep mucus thin thus reducing the chances of catching an infection.
4. Keep your house smoke free - As smoke can irritate your lungs and increase asthma symptoms it is advisable to keep your home smoke-free from fireplace, cigarette or candles.
5. Clean up or replace filters - The home heating system accumulates dust when not in use hence it should be cleaned or replaced when you first start it again for the winter. Not able to do so can release the dust in your home and can trigger an asthma attack.
6. Use a humidifier - Indoor heating can dry the air in your home hence irritating your airways. Use of a room humidifier can increase the moisture and ease breathing.
7. Vacuum frequently - Vacuum your home frequently in order to reduce allergens and asthma triggers like dust mites and molds.
8. Breathe through your nose - When you outdoors avoid breathing through your mouth as it can get cold air in your lungs. However, if you breathe through your nose it warms up the air for the lungs making breathing easier as well as prevents against influenza.
9. Warm up & Exercise indoors - Always warm up before starting your exercise as it helps in faster recovery post workout and better lung functioning. Going to the gym or exercise at home in winters is also recommended.
10. Prevent asthma flares and keep an action plan - Before heading outside of your house take the preventive dose for asthma and always keep your inhaler with you. The inhaler will provide you with extra protection by opening up your airways if required.
In case of emergency if asthma treatment is needed, keep an action plan ready. The action plan should have all the details about how to control your asthma and what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Follow the asthma treatment plan - Take your asthma care medications and follow the asthma treatment plan as prescribed by the doctor regardless of the time of the year. Keep these tips in mind can help you have a happy and easy breathing routine this winter; which is free of influenza and worsen breathing or any other asthma symptoms.