Can the Weather Affect My Asthma?
If you are someone who suffers from asthma, you may have noticed that your symptoms become worse during certain types of weather. This is not a coincidence! Different climates can result in allergy and asthma triggers, and exacerbate symptoms.
Avoiding your triggers is ideal in preventing an asthma attack, but it is not always practical. Understanding why certain weather may be affecting you will help you take the proper precautions.
Let’s take a look at how different types of weather could be affecting your asthma:
Heat & Humidity
There are a few theories as to why the heat and humidity of summer can trigger asthma symptoms. One belief is that hot air holds more water than cold air and can be heavier and more difficult to breathe.
Another theory is that the heat and sunlight make pollution worse by mixing the chemical in the air and producing smog.
Summertime also brings a rise in pollen counts which can affect those with allergy-induced asthma.
Your air conditioner keeps the air inside your home cool and filters out irritants. If the humidity in your house is high, you may want to consider a dehumidifier.
If you must be outside, try to do so early in the morning or in the evening when it is less humid.
Cold, Dry Air
The cold, dry air of winter narrows the airways, making it difficult and even painful to breathe. This can especially affect exercise-induced asthma.
It is a common misconception that colds are caused by cold weather.
It is not actually the weather itself that is causing the cold, but you may be more prone to illness because you are in a warm, indoor environment more often - the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
A respiratory illness itself can trigger asthma. Mouth breathing due to clogged sinuses may make it even worse.
Keeping a scarf over your mouth will warm and humidify the air you breathe when you are outdoors and help prevent airway constriction. Breathing through your nose also gives the cold air a little more time to warm up before making it to your lungs.
High Pollen Counts
All types of trees and plants give off pollen during the spring especially. An allergist will be able to help you determine which are triggers for you so that you can avoid them.
Regular medication, allergy shots, or both may also be needed to keep symptoms under control.
Severe thunderstorms are believed to trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.
Rain and lightning break the pollen into smaller pieces that, when carried by the strong winds, enter airways and trigger symptoms. It is so common that it is referred to as “thunderstorm asthma.” If your asthma is triggered by pollen, it would be wise to stay indoors during a thunderstorm, with windows closed.
A light rain can wash away potential allergens, and you may even feel some relief. However, wet weather can cause two other allergens - dust mites and mold - to thrive. If these are your triggers, it is important to manage your indoor air.
Replace air conditioning filters regularly, and make sure your more humid rooms, like your kitchen and bathroom, are well-ventilated to discourage mold growth.
Asthma & Allergy Care in Mississippi
If you suffer from asthma that worsens in certain weather conditions, it is important to have a plan of action.
The doctors at Mississippi Asthma & Allergy Clinic know that prevention of symptoms is the best form or treatment. We will work with you to figure out what scenarios trigger your symptoms so you can avoid them, as well as develop a routine care plan to keep asthma at bay. Schedule your appointment at one of our five convenient locations!