Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Certain factors can trigger your symptoms. It’s important to recognize your asthma triggers so you can avoid them as much as possible. Along with exercise and stress, you may find that your asthma is aggravated by cold weather. Cold weather is a common problem for people with asthma and can make symptoms worse.
So, it’s not actually the coldness of the weather itself that can lead to restricted airways and trouble breathing in those with asthma. It’s actually the dryness in the cold air. Your nose and mouth typically warm up the air before it hits the lungs, but when the air is too cold, your nose and mouth may not be able to fully warm up the air before it reaches the lungs.
If you also enjoy running or exercising outdoors, this can lead to a double whammy of asthma symptoms. To protect yourself, you may wish to bring your physical activities indoors and limit exposure to the outdoor elements during the winter months.
How do I know that cold and dry air is a trigger?
Some of the most common asthma symptoms include,
- A persistent cough (that may get worse at night)
- Chest tightness
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
How do I manage my cold weather-related asthma problems?
Along with taking your everyday controller inhaler, which reduces inflammation in the lungs and airways, a rescue inhaler is going to provide you with short but fast relief when your asthma symptoms flare-up. If you don’t have a rescue inhaler, or you don’t find that your current rescue inhaler lessens your symptoms, it’s important to talk with your allergist and asthma doctor right away.
It’s important to avoid cold, dry weather as much as possible. If you must go outside, make sure that you can easily get back inside as much as possible. You may even wish to wear a covering over your nose and mouth before going outside.
If you are noticing any changes in your asthma or you have questions about living with asthma, an allergist and asthma specialist can provide you with the answers and specialized care you need. Schedule an appointment today and have someone on your team that can help you get your asthma under control.
- Trouble breathing/shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Mild fever
While bronchitis can develop from an infection, it can also be caused by certain environmental or lifestyle triggers including,
- Cigarette smoke
- Air pollution
- Certain chemicals
- Outdoor or indoor allergens
- Certain medications
- Changes in weather
If you are diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis the good news is that it’s treated the same way as you would asthma or regular bronchitis. Common treatment options include:
- A fast-acting inhaler (also known as a rescue inhaler)
- Long-acting corticosteroid and bronchodilator
- A humidifier
- Lifestyle changes such as placing a HEPA air filter in your home and washing bedclothes regularly in hot water
If you do have skin allergies here are some ways to alleviate that itchy skin:
Avoid the Allergen
This might sound rather obvious, but it still bears mentioning. It is important to figure out what’s causing your symptoms so that you can take the necessary precautions to avoid it. It could mean having to switch all your detergents so they are fragrance-free, or you may need to stop wearing certain jewelry. Not sure what is causing your symptoms? Don’t worry; an allergist can provide you with answers through a simple blood or skin prick test.
Cool it Down
Cold compresses can make a world of difference, whether you’re dealing with an itchy rash caused by eczema or you came in contact with poison ivy. Apply the cool compress or hop into a cool shower to help reduce some of the heat and discomfort that may be emanating from your skin. Make sure to follow cold compresses up with a gentle moisturizer.
Try a Topical Cream
There are various creams and lotions out there that can also help to take the itch away. You may choose to apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone, depending on the cause of your symptoms. While these won’t fix the problem, they can certainly provide you with fast-acting relief.
Soak in an Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal isn’t just soothing for your tummy, it can also be soothing for red, inflamed, and itchy skin. Whether you were exposed to poison oak or you have eczema, oatmeal baths can provide soothing relief. Colloidal oatmeal also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can help with itching and dry skin.
If you are dealing with itchy, red, and inflamed skin throughout the year it’s worth seeing an allergist for testing. An allergist can not only diagnose your allergies but also provide you with a customized treatment plan to help you get your symptoms under control for clearer, healthier skin.
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Red, watery, or itchy eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Swelling under the eyes
How do I know if it’s hay fever and not a cold?
We know that many respiratory conditions present with the same group of symptoms, so it can be difficult to know whether it’s just a cold that will pass you by or it’s hay fever allergies. Here’s how to spot the difference:
Check the nasal discharge: While it might sound a little unpleasant, checking the color of your nasal discharge can clue you in on whether you are dealing with hay fever or a cold. Hay fever will produce clear discharge while a cold or any kind of nasal infection will lead to yellowish or greenish discharge.
Itching: If you are dealing with an itchy throat or eyes these are usually symptoms of hay fever and not a cold.
Sore throat: Dealing with a sore throat? If so, this is probably a sign that you are about to get a cold. If you’ve been noticing a mild sore throat along with runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing then it’s most likely a cold rather than hay fever.
How do you treat hay fever?
If your symptoms are only slightly irritating, then you may be able to get away with taking an over-the-counter antihistamine and altering your lifestyle to accommodate those times of the year when hay fever symptoms seem to rear their ugly head.
However, if you aren’t sure whether you are dealing with hay fever, or if your symptoms are serious, then you should talk with your allergist about a prescription medication that can help alleviate symptoms. An allergist can provide you with antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, and decongestants.
If you find yourself constantly rubbing your eyes, wiping your nose, or dealing with sinus pressure then you should talk with an allergist about whether you could be dealing with hay fever and how to get this problem under control.
There are Hundreds of Food Allergies
While there are more than 160 foods that can cause an allergic reaction, the majority of allergic reactions occur from these eight foods:
- Tree nuts
Symptoms can appear anywhere from a couple of minutes to two hours after eating the offending food. Those with allergic reactions to certain foods may experience:
- Flushed skin
- Itching or tingling of the mouth or lips
- Facial swelling
- Abdominal cramps
While the symptoms above are fairly common and typically mild, it’s important to recognize when your food allergies are possibly dangerous and require prompt medical attention. More serious allergic reactions can lead to:
- Swelling of the throat
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of consciousness
You Need to See an Allergist
While talking over your symptoms with a doctor may shed light as to whether or not you’re actually dealing with a food allergy, the only way to get a proper diagnosis is to see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can go through your medical history, discuss the symptoms you are experiencing and perform appropriate skin and blood tests to determining which food allergies you’re dealing with.
If you are concerned that you or your child may be dealing with food allergies, an asthma doctor and allergist is the perfect medical professional to turn to for extensive allergy testing and treatment. Don’t let food allergies ruin your love for food. An allergist can help.
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