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Why Is Your Asthma Worse in the Winter?

If you're one of the more than 25 million Americans who have asthma, you know that winter can be a challenging time to manage your condition. The cold weather and winter season can trigger or exacerbate symptoms for a variety of reasons.

Asthma is a condition in which your airways swell, making it difficult for air to pass through. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. The key to managing symptoms is to learn your triggers and how to avoid them and develop a treatment plan with your doctor that addresses every season's unique challenges. 

The family doctors at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, are experts at diagnosing and treating asthma. Is your asthma worse now that the cold weather is setting in? Learn why and how you can manage your symptoms so that you can enjoy the season.

Why your asthma is worse in the winter

In the winter, the cold air affects your asthma and your lungs in many ways. Winter air is dryer than the warm, moist air of other seasons. When you're outside and breathe in dry air, the dryness can irritate your airway, causing the muscles inside to spasm and swell. Cold air itself can be a trigger for some, and exercising in the cold can be a double whammy.

If it's cold enough outside, you stay inside. With windows closed, asthma triggers such as mold, dust mites, and pet dander are trapped and concentrated indoors, where you readily breathe them in. Fires to keep you warm can also worsen asthma symptoms. 

Last, winter is also cold and flu season. Colds and flu can trigger and exacerbate asthma symptoms.

How to manage your asthma in the cold weather

While it might seem that you're doomed if you stay inside and doomed if you venture outside, there are ways to manage your symptoms in the winter. When you're out, wear a scarf or face covering to warm the air before you breathe it in. Other ways to prevent asthma symptoms include:

Make sure your medications are filled, and you and your doctor have a winter-proof action plan to manage your asthma. And, make sure you eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep to keep your immune system strong.

Is your asthma acting up? Call Wasatch Peak Family Practice to learn how to manage your symptoms effectively this season. You can also request an appointment online

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