The best way to help prevent a cold-weather related asthma attack is to get your asthma is under control before winter arrives, Gonshor says. A variety of medications are available. Talk to a qualified care provider for help determining which option may be best for you.
If exercising in the cold is a problem, Gonshor says a short-acting rescue inhaler can be used 15 to 30 minutes prior to a workout to help keep the lungs open.
Here are some of Gonshor’s other strategies to help manage and prevent an asthma attack while exercising outdoors in cooler temperatures:
- Consider using a scarf or mask to cover your mouth while in cold weather. This can help warm the air entering your lungs as you inhale.
- Although most people breathe through their mouths when exercising, try to breathe through the nose as much as possible, which helps to warm the air entering the lungs.
- Keep an eye on the weather and consider exercising mid-day when the temperatures are warmer.
- Come out of the cold and into a warm environment to help symptoms subside. In case of emergency, call 911.
“To keep your lungs working at optimal performance, get an evaluation to determine the type of asthma you might have and your triggers,” Gonshor says. “And then have a plan when colder weather hits to reduce your risk for having an asthma attack.”