No one likes the coughing and sneezing that accompanies a cold—but with asthma, a little cold can become a big problem. Real asthma patients and specialists discuss how they cope when cold weather and cold symptoms get them down.
Vanessa: The worst times for me are the winter. The heat's on, there's not a lot of moisture in the air, my sinuses become really dry.
Dr. Greenspan: The airways are lined with smooth muscle, and in the same way that our skeletal muscles get tight when we're in the cold, the smooth muscle of the airways have a similar impact. So, a lot of times, you leave your house, as soon as that cold air hits your airways, that muscle clamps down, making it more difficult for you to move air in and out.
Ben: Now that I have an asthma diagnosis and a love for running, especially in cold weather, as the weather gets colder, I need to pay attention to my breathing in those temperatures.
Erika: I can feel a general constriction in my chest, and I find that I'm losing my breath.
Kouryou: Sometimes, when it's cold out and I wake up, I'm already wheezing from the get-go.
Mark: And then it gets more of a tightness around here. And sometimes I feel my sinuses over here.
Dr. Greenspan: Make sure that you keep your face covered. They make products that will actually help you cover your face while still being able to breathe and keeping the air warm.
Sha: As the weather's changing, I can feel a cough coming on, sickness coming in.
Catherine: A cold or a flu can exacerbate the symptoms of asthma.
Vanessa: I sort of know when I'm going to get sick, so I know to go to the doctor's.
Catherine: Explain your condition, make sure that you are in agreement with exactly what medicines you should be taking.
Vanessa: Because if I don't go to the doctor's and I don't prioritize my health, then things can very easily spiral. So it's all about early prevention.
Catherine: Try not to touch your eyes, your nose, your mouth, when your hands aren't clean.
Dr. Greenspan: Make sure that you're well hydrated in the wintertime. A lot of times, people are dehydrated.
Catherine: The best approach is to have a proactive approach.
Medical Reviewers:William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Review Date:01-19-2016