When It Goes From Chilly To Colder Than The North Pole
It has been an absolutely frigid week here and it literally went from a bit of a cold snap, to actually colder than the North Pole. Yikes! it has something to do with a Siberian freeze, polar vortex and the arctic air that is legitimately sweeping the country. Whatever the fancy scientists have actually identified is downright freezing. It has made going outside not as easy. When you are already dealing with triggers and irritants it is hard to even think about adding even one more thing to the basket. Especially when you think it may tip the scale... yikes!
Why does the cold have such an effect on asthmatic lungs?
It is thought that airways contract when sudden drying occurs due to extreme cold air. An interesting fact is that airways do not respond to pain, like other parts of the body, this causes coughing and spasms because hypersensitive airways are now irritated causing bronchoconstriction.1 Another cool fact is that cold weather asthma is similar to exercise induced asthma as both increase the speed in which airways can dry through rapid breathing.2 A challenge of exercising in cold weather, is the exacerbation of the rate in which the airways are drying out.
Depending on where you live, it may not be possible to avoid the cold, so preventative methods are in order. An easy method is to use a scarf wrapped around your mouth and nose. There are a few fancy versions of cold air protectors that you can find on the market, however sometimes a good old fashion scarf will do. A scarf will allow there to be a combination of warm air and cold in every breath. The cold air travels through the warm air and reduces the effect of the cold air. 2
Other ways are to keep an eye on weather warnings in your area and any associated health advisories. An advisory that I have seen, much too much of this last week would be, extreme cold warnings. These warnings essentially make you aware of the possibility of frostbite, advise you to stay indoors, and also to keep your pets safe. Sometimes it really is too cold to go outside, being on top of you asthma health, activating your asthma action plan if needed and being as healthy as you can be, the better our ability to protect our lungs and battle against triggers like cold, the better we can fight back against the cold.
Hopefully, you will be able to stay warm, enjoy an active winter and keep your lungs from going over the edge.
Does cold weather impact your asthma?