Experts say for many people, the cold air can be as much of a trigger as high humidity. Wonder what the connection is? The fact is that when you breathe cold air into your sensitive airways, it can cause them to constrict and can trigger your asthma symptoms. In addition, cold air can often be very dry, which can also be a trigger. This is because when you breathe in very dry air, your airways may compensate by producing additional mucus, which can make your asthma worse as a result.

A Sign of Things to Come

Further, while people diagnosed with asthma are certainly prone to these reactions, a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also found that this reaction to cold air can occur in children who've not yet been diagnosed with asthma. However, this sensitivity can be indicative that they may develop the condition in the future.

In addition, the study found that in children who later were identified as asthmatic, allergies and wheezing usually went along with this hypersensitivity. So the combination of factors can be indicative that a respiratory problem exists. 

How to Prevent Cold Air and Asthma

 If cold air and asthma leave you wheezing, don't despair. Please review the following list for some tips to help you weather the coldest temperatures with the least amount of distress.

  • Follow your asthma action plan to keep your condition well controlled.
  • Use your asthma inhaler before heading outdoors on cold days.
  • Also carry it with you in case you should feeling an attack kicking in.
  • Wear a scarf over your nose and mouth to warm the air before you breathe it in. This will help prevent a reaction.

Exercise With Care

When it comes to exercise, if you're susceptible to the asthma and cold air connection, you should minimize your exertion level outdoors when the temperature drops. To this end, it's important to avoid skiing, jogging and other outdoor activities that can put you at increased risk for breathing in cold air and causing your asthma symptoms to flare.




American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Asthma Society of Canada

Pediatrics, Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics