Asthma in winter: Five tips to keep the inflammatory condition under control
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If you’d like to stop your asthma from worsening over the winter months, then follow these guidelines recommended by LloydsPharmacy. They could help make this winter more bearable.
The first line of defence against an asthma attack this winter is to take your medicine as prescribed.
A preventer inhaler (typically brown) can help your airways become less sensitive to triggers, such as cold air.
It’ll also help to carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you at all times.
As soon as symptoms appear – such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or tightness in the chest – you should use your reliever inhaler.
Whenever you venture outside, you’re advised to loosely “wear a scarf around your nose and mouth”.
This is to help warm up the air before you breath it in, as cold air is a common asthma trigger.
Breathe through your nose
Breathing through your nose also helps to warm up the air before it enters the lungs.
Again, this piece of advice is to prevent cold air from triggering symptoms.
Speaking of triggers, “open fires, scented candles and dusty decorations” are common winter triggers.
Thus, it’ll be a good idea to avoid triggers – and some may be specific to you.
If you have asthma, you’re entitled to a free NHS flu jab, which you can get done at LloydsPharmacy or at the GP’s clinic.
Asthma UK ascertains that a preventer inhaler needs to be taken daily, “even when you’re feeling well”.
A preventer inhaler “prevents inflammation and swelling in the airways”, typically prescribed twice daily (morning and evening).
“The protective effect of the preventer inhaler builds up over time,” explained the charity.
Although there are several different types of preventer inhalers, they all contain a low dosage of corticosteroids.
Do make time for annual asthma reviews with your GP or asthma nurse, as they can check you’re on the correct dosage for your needs.
They will also be able to ascertain if you’re using your inhaler correctly.
In addition, you can create an asthma action plan together so you know what to do during an asthma attack.
During an asthma attack, a blue reliever inhaler “gets the medicine straight to your lungs”.
It works by relaxing the muscles surrounding your attests, making it easier to breathe.
A person with mild symptoms of asthma may only be prescribed a blue reliever inhaler.
However, if you’re using your reliever inhaler three or more times each week, or the frequency of symptoms increase, you may need a preventer inhaler.
Do check the expiry dates on the medicines in your inhaler, as they do go out of date.
Also check there’s enough medicine in your reliever and preventer inhaler, which you can do by shaking the canister.
Some people report side effects from using their reliever inhaler, which can include a faster heartbeat and shaky muscles.
These usually pass within a few minutes, and they’re not considered dangerous.
For more information on asthma, and what to do during an asthma attack, visit Asthma UK.
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