Winter Precursors to Asthma Attacks


As you can tell, a person without asthma has a wider and more open airway compared to a person struggling with asthma. One in every thirteen people have asthma, including adults and children.

With winter fast approaching, this can mean more severe triggers for asthmatic people. Asthma is a condition that causes a person’s airways to swell, narrow, and become inflamed while producing extra mucus.

Triggers are what cause an asthma attack, and these triggers can be many things around us. In the winter these triggers are the cold air, windchill, pet dander, dust mites, and other illnesses such as the cold and flu. These common illnesses can sometimes make an asthma attack worse and even life-threatening.

The cold winter air itself can cause problems to people with asthma, but adding windchill into the day makes it even worse. Cold air and wind cause your airways to become dry and irritated, forcing them to constrict more and making it difficult to breathe.

The cold can also cause asthmatic people to start wheezing, coughing, have shortness of breath, or have tightness in their chest. Shortness of breath during the winter can cause asthmatic people to breathe in the cold air, and without the air passing through their mouth and nose to warm up before reaching the lungs. The lungs react by tightening, which triggers an asthma attack.

A cold, flu, and other illnesses can make the effects of asthma worse and increase the risk of having an asthma attack. Illnesses can lead to hospitalization depending on how serious it affects a person’s asthma. Trips to the ER are common during winter for asthmatic patients.

During winter, people tend to stay inside to keep warm and out of the harsh conditions, but triggers hiding inside their homes can also affect them. Dust mites and pet dander can cause trouble with breathing which makes it worse for those with asthma. Without knowing, mites and dander can be anywhere in your house. A house can get stuffy and possibly be full of numerous triggers.

Although there isn’t a cure for asthma, there is a variety of things one can do that can help. Wearing something to cover your mouth like a scarf to prevent cold air from heading directly to the lungs is one way to help prevent an asthma attack. Another way is breathing through your nose when going outside. Also, staying inside because of horrible weather conditions that could trigger an asthma attack. Moving away from a fireplace producing smoke that can irritate the lungs also helps. These along with keeping your well-being in check can help prevent an asthma attack.