Management of Asthma During Winter. Written by Ruth Morrow, Respiratory Nurse Specialist, Asthma Society of Ireland46, 47 – HPN January 2022 Digital
Six Tips for managing Asthma to follow during the colder months:
- Put an Asthma Action Plan in place (Figure 3). An Asthma Action Plan contains all the information a person with asthma needs to keep their condition in control. Every person with asthma should be offered a plan. It should be reviewed frequently and any time medication is changed. These can be downloaded for free from asthma.ie and should be filled out with the person’s healthcare professional.
- Immunisation with influenza and pneumococcal vaccine should be encouraged in people with asthma. Pneumococcal vaccine can be administered at any time throughout the year while influenza vaccine can be administered up until the end of April. Immunisation against COVID 19 should also be encouraged if not already done.
- Follow the HSE’s advice on preventing the spread of COVID-19. This highly contagious illness can be very problematic for people with asthma, especially those with severe asthma.
Information on keeping well with asthma during COVID19 can be found HERE
- Asthma medication should be taken as prescribed and the reliever inhaler carried at all times. This is especially important during the winter months as respiratory triggers are so prevalent. If the reliever inhaler is being used more than twice a week, this may indicate that the person’s asthma is not controlled and may be at risk of an asthma flare-up.
- Check inhaler technique: it is extremely important to ensure correct use asthma devices correctly to optimise deposition of medication to the lungs and to reduce the risk of side effects. Inhaler technique for asthma inhalers on the Irish market can be viewed HERE
- Cold air can trigger asthma – take precautions to reduce the risk of cold air triggering an asthma flare-up. To help reduce symptoms which are triggered by cold air, it can be helpful to cover the mouth with a snood or scarf on colder days. This heats the air before it enters the lungs makes it easier to breathe. Another tip is to exercise indoors during bouts of cold weather if at all possible. It’s important to stay warm during the winder months but make sure the home is well ventilated. If wind and rain trigger asthma symptoms, keep windows closed, particularly on bad days. The Asthma Society Winter Wellness Guide can be accessed HERE
Read our January magazine HERE