How to Prevent Developing Asthma in Cold Weather?
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Asthma in Cold Weather - Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Published on Jan 12, 2023 and last reviewed on Feb 06, 2023   -  5 min read


Asthma is a condition in which the airway of the person becomes narrow and inflamed that produces extra mucus. Read to know more about asthma in cold weather.


Asthma is a non-communicable disease that affects both children and adults. Narrowing and inflammation of airways in the lungs cause symptoms of asthma which can be a combination of wheezing, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. It affected an estimated 262 people in the year 2019 and led to 45000 deaths. Inhalational medication can be used to control asthma in order to lead an active and normal life. Avoiding asthmatic triggers can help to reduce asthma symptoms. Asthma-related deaths mostly occur in lower-middle-class countries. If asthma remains untreated, it can be life-threatening.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a lung disease that occurs when the airways become swollen and narrow or are blocked by the presence of excess mucus. It is also known as bronchial asthma. Prolonged asthma can also lead to asthmatic attacks. An asthma attack can include the following complications such as :

  • Bronchospasm: The muscle constricts around the airways and makes them narrow. As the airways become narrow, the air cannot flow through them easily.

  • Inflammation: Occurs as the lining of airways becomes inflamed or swollen. Swollen airways do not allow air in or out of the lungs.

  • Mucus Production: During an asthma attack, the body creates more mucus. The thick mucus clogs the airways.

What Are the Different Types of Asthma?

The different types of asthma are based on the severity and causes of the symptoms. The types of asthma are as follows:

  • Adult Onset Asthma: It is commonly seen in people who are younger than 40 years.

  • Status Asthmaticus: Long-lasting asthma that requires bronchodilators. A bronchodilator is a medication used to relax muscle bands that tighten around the airways. It usually requires medical treatment.

  • Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction: It occurs during physical activities. It occurs just after 10 to 15 minutes of exercise.

  • Allergic Asthma: Triggers allergies such as pet dander, pollen, and dust and also initiates asthmatic attacks.

  • Non-allergic Asthma: Usually flares in extreme weather and can occur due to cold winters or the heat of summers. It can also occur due to stress.

  • Occupational Asthma: This affects the factory workers who work around dust, chemical fumes, or other irritating substances in the air.

  • Eosinophilic Asthma: It is a severe form of asthma marked by increased levels of white blood cells known as eosinophilic cells and usually occurs in adults between 35 and 50 years of age.

  • Nocturnal Asthma: It is associated with asthma that worsens at night.

  • Aspirin-Induced Asthma: This occurs when the person takes Aspirin along with sneezing, sinus pressure, running nose, and cough.

  • Cough Variant Asthma: This is a type of asthma associated with long-term coughing.

What Are the Symptoms of Asthma?

Symptoms of asthma vary from one person to another. The person may experience symptoms such as:

  • Chest tightness or pain.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing.

  • Wheezing (high-pitched sound) while exhalation is a common symptom of asthma in children.

  • Increased difficulty in breathing.

  • Dizziness.

  • Blue lips.

  • Confusion.

  • Gasping for air.

  • Fatigue.

What Causes Asthma?

Asthma is caused by multiple factors, such as :

  • Allergy: Allergy to certain substances like dust, pollens, etc, leads to the risk of developing asthma.

  • Environmental Factors: People develop asthma after exposure to substances that cause irritation to the airways. These substances include toxins, fumes, allergens, and second or third-hand smoke. These can be especially harmful to children and infants whose immune system has not developed yet.

  • Genetics: If the family has a history of allergic disease or asthma, the chances of developing the disease are higher.

  • Respiratory Infection: Infections such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) damage the development of young children’s lungs.

What Are Common Triggers of Asthma Attacks?

The common triggers of asthma attacks are :

  • Air pollution includes car fumes emission, wildfire smoke, and factory emission that may trigger an asthma attack.

  • Allergy from dust or mites makes a person prone to asthma.

  • Excessive exercise may trigger asthma attacks in patients with a previous history of asthma.

  • Stress and emotions can make a person vulnerable and are factors associated with asthma.

  • Preservatives and sulfites are added to some beverages and foods, including dried food, shrimp, beer, wine, and processed foods.

  • Strong smells or chemicals can also trigger asthmatic attacks in some people.

  • Tobacco smoking can increase the risk of developing asthma in an individual.

How to Diagnose Asthma?

The diagnosis of asthma can be done by the following methods:

  • Spirometry: This is a normal breathing test that measures the amount of air exhaled.

  • Peak Flow: Measures the way air is pushed out of the lungs. It is less accurate than the spirometry test.

  • Methacholine Challenge: Involves the use of trigger substances which is more likely performed in adults than in children. The test involves the inhalation of a chemical called methacholine.

  • Exhaled Nitric Oxide Test: It is done by breathing using a tube connected to a machine used for measuring the amount of nitric oxide in the breath.

  • Chest X-Ray: This is not a test for asthma but is done to get an image of the inside of the chest to see any abnormality.

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: Take the CT scan of the lungs and sinuses to identify any disease or infection that causes breathing problems.

  • Allergy Test: This may include skin or blood tests if the person is allergic to dust, mold, pollen, and pets.

  • Sputum Eosinophils: Investigates for high levels of white blood cells in the mixture of sputum and saliva present in the cough of a person.

What Are Ways to Prevent Asthma in Cold Weather?

The various ways to prevent asthma in cold weather are as follows:

  • Limiting indoor triggers such as dust and molds. Air filters can be used to purify the contaminated air inside the house.

  • Keeping warm in winter by wearing a scarf, hat, gloves, and coat. It is always best to wear a mask outside to avoid entry of any allergens inside the nostril.

  • Avoid breathing through the mouth. Breathing from the mouth in winter allows the entry of cold air into the lungs, which can trigger an asthmatic attack.


Asthma is an airway disease that occurs due to the triggering of an irritant or allergen into the lungs through the nostril. Although asthma cannot be prevented, certain precautions can be taken to avoid asthma attacks. Exercise and inhalational medication can be beneficial to patients suffering from asthma.

Last reviewed at:
06 Feb 2023  -  5 min read




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