With changing seasons, breathing issues become more common for people affected by certain respiratory conditions like Asthma, COPD, etc. Asthma is a common respiratory condition that is common in both children and adults. It typically starts in childhood and persists through adulthood. There is no permanent cure for Asthma, but appropriate management and treatment plans can help manage the symptoms. Various Clinical Research Organizations in Michigan conduct Clinical Trials to find a potential treatment option for Asthma and other respiratory conditions.
In this blog, we will be discussing how seasonal changes cause Asthma flare-ups and how symptoms differ according to season.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma, commonly referred to as bronchial asthma, is a chronic lung disease. The airways become congested and irritated, and increased mucus production occurs. It can make breathing difficult and cause coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a whistling sound when you exhale.
When you inhale normally, the muscles surrounding your airways are relax and free, allowing air to pass through them efficiently. someone has an asthma episode:
- The muscles surrounding their airways tighten. During that time, the passageways narrow, and the airways contract, causing bronchospasm.
- The interior of the airways swells. It restricts the amount of air that may enter and exit the lungs. During an attack, more mucus is produced. This obstructs the airway routes.
When your airways get congest, wheezing is the sound you make when you inhale and exhale. For instance, you might be able to hear the wheezing if you are experiencing an exacerbated asthma episode.
Depending on Severity
- Intermittent: You can feel this type of asthma between asthma attacks.
- Persistent: This happens when you experience symptoms for an extended period of time. These might range from minor to severe. Depending on how frequently you experience the symptoms, doctors decide how bad your asthma is. They also take into account how well you can function while having an asthma attack.
Sorting Subtypes by Cause
- Allergic: Asthma attacks can be brought on by sensitivity to certain allergens. Molds, dust, and specific odors are examples of allergens.
- Non-allergic: Asthma attacks can be brought on by external circumstances. Exercise, stress, illness, and environmental factors could bring on a flare.
- Hereditary: Your risk of having the disorder is higher if your family has a history of asthma or hypersensitivity conditions.
- Particular allergies like food, pollen, etc.,
- Seasonal change,
- Family history, and
- History of Bronchitis.
What Months Are Difficult For People With Asthma?
Winter is consider to be extremely tough for individuals who have Asthma. This is the season that is a perfect recipe for flare-ups. The change in wind, cold and dry air results in difficulty breathing. It irritates the airways resulting in a buildup of mucus.
Reasons for Asthma Flare-ups During Winters
- Dry Air: The airways are protected by a fluid layer which when exposed to cold and dry air, makes the fluid evaporate resulting in irritated and inflamed airways.
- Respiratory Illness: A thick layer of mucus protects your airways. When it is cold outside, the mucus layer thickens, resulting in increased chances of catching respiratory infections like flu or cold.
- Exercise: Increased lung capacity is necessary for exercise. Your airways may become constrained as you move and breathe in the chilly air, resulting in symptoms.
What Does An Asthma Attack Feel Like When The Seasons Are Changing?
The symptoms are different for everyone. Some people might experience a mild flare-up that resolves without much hassle. Whereas, others might have a gradual and progressive flare-up. The only difference in symptoms during seasonal change is that people who are down with a respiratory infection during the seasonal change might experience a more aggressive flare-up with shortness of breath, cough, etc.
How Can The Symptoms of Asthma Be Mitigate?
It is vital to keep your doctor in the loop for your Asthma management and follow his/her proposed treatment plan. Some other management options include:
- Get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in the market as flu may trigger your asthma flare-ups
- Avoid crowded spaces and places with tobacco smoke
- To reduce asthma triggers, consider wearing masks in crowded places and indoor settings and while traveling to alleviate exposure to viral particles
How To Navigate Through Seasonal Change?
Some of the ways to ease your asthma symptoms are:
- Grab a coffee: Caffeinated drinks act as bronchodilators, opening up the airway and making way for air to pass through. However, more understanding is required on this.
- Sauna Bath: Most people find relief in warm air. A sauna bath or steam bath may help. It is important to understand your triggers to avoid complications.
- Meditation: It may help release the stress that also affects your chest muscles. Performing yoga can help decompress the muscles and make it easier for you to breathe.
- Exercise: Regular movement makes your lungs stronger but it can also be a trigger for your asthma in cold weather. Talk to your doctor before switching to a new routine.
- Breathing Exercises: These can help your lungs function in a better way. Some of the exercises include pursed lip breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, etc.
Treatment For Asthma
Although there is currently no established treatment for asthma, medicines can help you control the symptoms so you can live a healthy, active life. Inhalers, which are devices that let you breathe in the drug, are the main form of treatment. You might also require medications and other treatments if your asthma is severe.
Inhalers: These are very useful
- To ease symptoms when they appear (reliever inhalers)
- To prevent the beginning of symptoms (preventer inhalers)
- For some people, an inhaler with both functions is necessary (combination inhalers)
The various kinds of inhalers include:
Inhalers for Relieving Asthma:
Most asthmatics will be given an inhaler for relieving their symptoms. These are typically blue. You use a reliever inhaler to control symptoms when they manifest.
If you routinely use a relief inhaler, you might also need a preventer inhaler. You use a preventer inhaler every day to lower your airways’ sensitivity and inflammation, which stops your symptoms from happening. Using it is essential, even if you are symptom-free. Preventer inhalers contain steroid medication.
If reliever and preventer inhalers are unable to control your asthma, you may require an inhaler that combines the two. Combination inhalers are frequently used to help both avoid mild persistent asthma symptoms from occur and offer efficient relief if they do. It’s important to use it frequently even if you don’t experience any symptoms.
In conclusion, Asthma is a debilitating condition that impacts your routine life to a great extent. With changing seasons, it is vital to take care of yourself and avoid triggers as much as possible. Keep your physician in the loop if you notice any changes in the symptoms so that complications could be avoide.
Revive Research institute is conducting Asthma Clinical Trials with the help of its team of medical experts that may assist in easing the symptoms as the disease can not be reversed, but can be manage.