4 Tips to Help Keep Asthma Under Control
From chilly winds to blazing log fires, there are some asthma triggers that blow in with winter’s colder weather.
Breathe better all season
Here are four action steps you can take to head off wintry triggers — and help keep your asthma under control.
1. Take cover from the chill.
Cold, dry air can irritate the airways — which can lead to wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
Action plan: Grab a scarf before heading outdoors. Wrap it loosely around your mouth and nose to breathe in warmer air.
2. Fight the flu.
’Tis the season for sniffles — and the flu. Having asthma increases your risk of getting seriously sick from influenza.
Action plan: Get the annual flu vaccine if you haven’t already. It’s your No. 1 defense against the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it’s not too late. The shot offers protection even if you don’t get it until well into flu season — which can linger as late as May.
Another simple and effective way to help avoid colds and flu: Wash your hands often with soap and water.
3. Mind the flame.
A roaring fire can make a room feel cozy. And maybe you have special scented candles for the holidays. But neither are very pleasant if smoke or fragrances make your asthma worse.
Action plan: Don’t risk it. Make your home warm and inviting with the glow of an electric fireplace and flameless, battery-operated candles.
4. Travel wisely.
If the holidays find you venturing away from home, you’ll want to reduce your risk of unexpected asthma triggers.
Action plan: Whether staying with friends or family or in a hotel, make sure your home away from home is smoke-free. Bring your own bedding — such as a special pillowcase — to help avoid dust mites. And be sure to pack — and take as prescribed — your asthma medications to help prevent and manage symptoms.
What to do next
Work with your doctor to make sure you have an up-to-date asthma action plan. It’s your go-to guide to managing your condition — and it should include what to do in case symptoms get worse. You might also use this printable versionOpens a new window from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Ask your doctor to help you fill it out.
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