a strong breeze blowing in leaves from outside

As The Seasons Change

It’s the time of year when the temperatures start to drop and there is that telltale crisp feeling in the morning air. The leaves start to change and before you know it, it feels like we are living in some sort of fairytale because it is just so beautiful outside. Pumpkin patches, apple picking, hayrides, and fall festivals are happening all around us. The fall season is a favorite of so many. For asthmatics, such as myself, it can be a season of mixed feelings.

I was born and raised in Southern California. We never truly experienced having four seasons, besides the decorating part, until 4 years ago when my husband (who was also born and raised in Southern California) and I and our children decided we wanted a change so we moved to the Midwest. I fully admit that I was equal parts excited and terrified because I knew how my lungs behaved in coastal conditions but had no clue how they would behave in a completely different climate.

I remember my first summer here in the Midwest four years ago and how much the humidity bothered my lungs. It felt like I was breathing through a wet blanket that I couldn’t get out from under any time I was outside. Thankfully pretty much everywhere we went (in addition to our home) had air conditioning. I was so excited for fall to come to finally experience it firsthand. What I wasn’t prepared for was what comes along with the fall season in the Midwest. Farmers plowing fields, bonfires everywhere, new allergies that I never had prior to moving, and drastic sudden temperature changes. All things that for some asthmatics are a recipe for disaster.

Tips for as the seasons change

Here are a few tips that have helped me deal with my asthma during the changing of seasons.

Watch the weather reports like a hawk

Here in the Midwest, there is a saying “if you don’t like the weather just wait fifteen minutes” and this has proven to be true over and over again! When I first heard this I laughed but they weren’t kidding! I personally will check a few different weather apps that I have on my phone throughout the day and plan accordingly. Another great thing to keep track of our air quality and allergen reports. There are some apps out there that will even send you alerts for certain things that you set up ahead of time.

Be prepared

This might seem repetitive however always double-check that you have your rescue inhaler with you before you leave your house. I always keep one in my purse and I’ve been guilty of forgetting to double-check at times and find myself in a pickle when I realized it wasn’t there. Another thing I have always carried with me (long before covid days) is a face mask. It’s one of those things where you just never know when you might encounter a situation with an asthma trigger and having a mask that you can put on quickly can make a huge difference. It also is wonderful for the winter months when the temperatures are very cold, which is another asthma trigger for many.

Have an exit strategy

This is a good thing to always keep in mind regardless of the time of year. Make a conscious effort to find a way out if you might need it. If your asthma starts really acting up and you need to get out of the situation that you’re in, the last thing you need to have to worry about is how to get out of where you are. Make a mental note when you arrive how to leave should you need to.

In addition to the things mentioned above, be sure to give yourself some grace. If you find yourself having to leave a social event early or have to decline an invitation because of an asthma trigger try not to let it get you down. Your health is of utmost importance and we have to protect our fragile lungs. Fall is still my favorite season even though I have to take a few more precautions to keep my asthma under control.

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