Why Asthma Can Be Worse in Winter and Steps to Manage Attacks

Why Asthma Can Be Worse in Winter and Steps to Manage Attacks

Did you know? While the last week in September is called “Asthma Peak Week” because of the high number of attacks in the fall, winter is also a risky time for asthma patients due to spikes in indoor allergens and viral illnesses.

At Macomb Medical Clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, our team of family doctors treats patients with asthma and allergy reactions causing respiratory distress year-round. Here’s why winter can bring new risks for asthma patients.   

Why asthma can be worse in the winter

Even if you’re staying mostly indoors, you can still breathe in asthma triggers from dust mites, mold, pet dander, or ashes from the fireplace. If you do go outside, the shock of breathing in cold air can also trigger an asthma attack. Viruses like the flu or the common cold can also lead to asthma episodes.

Tips for preventing winter asthma attacks

There are things you can do to help cut down on the risks of a winter asthma attack:

Keep your house cool and dry

Mold and dust mites thrive in damp conditions and love warm air. Make sure you dehumidify if necessary, and don’t crank the thermostat up too high. Seal windows and doors so humid air from outside doesn’t get in, and check for water leaks in your home. Run fans in bathrooms to get rid of moisture after bathing or showering. 

Limit pet exposure

A cat or dog may trigger asthma, so consider restricting where animals are allowed in the house. Having the bedroom free from animals will reduce exposure to dander and fur that can trigger an attack.

Cover up bedding

Using mite-proof covers on your mattress, box-springs, and pillows can help keep dust mites from making their home in your bed or your child’s bed, and significantly reduce the risks of an attack triggered by this common allergen. 

Stay virus free

Wash hands and stay away from people who are sick. Consider wearing a mask in crowds. A cold or the flu can mean multiple asthma attacks and is no way to spend your winter.

Managing attacks

If you or your child use short-term relief medication, make sure your inhaler is up-to-date and charged, ready for use. If you take long-term medication, now is the time to be extra strict about taking it regularly to maximize your protection. 

Make sure that your child can repeat back to you exactly what to do if they start having an asthma attack, and that any school workers or daycare workers who have them during the day also know the importance of swift action in case of an attack. 

Are you worried about your or your child’s risk for winter asthma attacks? Call our office at 586-315-2394 to schedule an appointment with one of our family physicians today. 

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