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Heavy Breather's Chat! ~ Winter Tips

It's always nice to have supportive loved ones during those 'breathless' moments.

[ Alex comforts her friend who's taking her asthma treatment. She'll start feeling much better as she remembers to keep up with her prescribed asthma medications on the regular. ]

Everyone who lives with asthma knows that it's a constant challenge for both body and spirit. Changes in weather either hot and humid or biting cold can make matters worse, and let's not forget to mention those in between seasons that bring on loads of pollen, grasses, and leaves! We are always creating or diving into trusty habits and new ways to protect ourselves from environmental elements. [ Who despises when stores in shopping malls infuse all of those annoying scents throughout the place?! Stay away from me spray lady! :() ]

Like myself, many asthmatics try to avoid other sick people like the plague! All it takes is a cold or bout with bronchitis to send some of us straight to the hospital! [Pneumonia for one please!] Asthmatics can have swelling in the lungs and may not be aware immediately and it becomes a slippery slope to disaster.

The following tips and tricks can make living through the changing seasons and your life smoother. Let's begin with winter in this post!

Winter: Cold dry air can can bring on more respiratory and sinus infections which can make asthma symptoms worse. Our airways have a very thin layer of fluid, and breathing in the dry air results in that fluid evaporating quickly than the body can make new fluid. Airways that are dry become swollen which triggers asthma. The cold also results in the body creating Histamine a chemical made by the body when a allergy attack occurs. Histamine will trigger wheezing, coughing and other symptoms of asthma.

Cold weather causes the body to produce more mucus than it usually does, and this mucus is much heavier than it normally is. It's easy for those nasty germs filled with infection to cling to this extra thick mucus.

[ This 'frosty' friend forgot to Cover His Mouth a very important move when you're protecting those lungs from wintery frost temperatures!! ]

*Get a Scarf, a big thick warm one [or a cap that covers the entire face, ski mask or just a regular face mask ] because they're going to be one of your weapons against harsh cold weather. Covering your mouth while outside warms up the air for your lungs [like a mini humidifier:() ]

[ Way to go Bob-cat! :() He's taking no chances with his health by remembering to hydrate!! ]

*Water is your friend! Water thins mucus in the lungs and hydrates the body.

*Wash your hands[ 20 to 30 seconds is the recommended time frame] frequently with soap and water [NOT the antibacterial kind ] and rinse thoroughly, it's the easiest way to help avoid germs. Keep moist towelettes on hand for when washing isn't possible.

*Most doctors strongly advise getting a flu and pneumonia shot, however this is up to each individual and their personal beliefs and preferences.

*Remember to replace the filters in your furnace TWICE yearly. If you have a separate humidifier those filters should be checked and replaced as well.

[ The LivingThruGrace Crew make sure they get in workouts no matter the weather with indoor group pilates sessions! ]

*Try indoor workouts to avoid cold air issues.

[ These guys are with me wherever I go! ]

*Make sure you Always have your Bronchodilator with you when you leave the house it will help to open the airway in the cold. Also, if you need to nebulize while on the go there are Portable Nebulizers on the market that make taking care of biz' efficient!

*Take your Meds! Many of us are all too familiar with forgetting our inhaler :o

However, it's imperative to follow your Asthma Action Plan [Plan established by your doctor and you with steps on how to care for your asthma].

*Try your best to avoid being near others who are ill. I know this may not be possible, especially for those living in the same household, but the least contact you have with them the happier and healthier your lungs will be :()

*Thoroughly clean especially Dusting and Vacuum your home often so those little particles can't invade your lungs. [ It's a good idea to wear a face mask while cleaning and to stick to as many Chemical Free cleaning products as possible].

*Frequent laundering of bedding, and extra blankets and pillows [ You can wash the actual pillow

*Vacuum and or washing of any curtains or drapes, dust loves to hibernate in these 'drapey' fabrics!

It's recommended Not to use Down pillows and comforters [ I'm guilty of this one! ]

Mind those candles :() Smoke from candles, a fireplace and cigarette smoke only aids in irritating those lungs and bronchial tubes possibly triggering an attack.

Try and make most of these tips a fundamental part of your winter routine and you'll find yourself better armed against the cold and breathing easier. As spring time approaches I'll have more tips on moving into those 'grassy' pollenated months! :()

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