Treating Asthma When You Have a Cold

Colds make us feel miserable and coughing fits tend to bring attention to us at times when we want it least. For most catching a cold is a nuisance but for others with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, colds can be very serious.  Colds are one of the most common causes for flare ups in asthmatics.  The mildest of cold symptoms can easily lead to wheezing, shortness of breath or trigger asthma attacks.

Taking preventative measures to avoid catching a cold is one of the best recommendations that asthmatics can follow. Some of these precautions include: frequently washing or sanitizing hands, staying away from individuals who have colds and avoiding contact to the eyes and nose.

Even though prevention is highly recommended, during the cold season avoiding a cold is sometimes easier said than done. If you do contract the cold virus there are several things you can do to help control your asthma:

  1. If you are sick stay home and take care of yourself. Staying home can help you avoid environmental factors that could worsen your condition.
  2. Monitor your air flow by frequently using a peak flow meter. If there is a drop in peak flow rates contact your physician to discuss adjustments to medication.
  3. Keep track of changes in your condition and developing asthma symptoms such as wheezing, tightness of the chest or coughing.
  4. Take medication as advised by your doctor.

Following these recommendations can help you manage symptoms and reduce the risk of a serious attack.  If your condition continues to get worse after several days, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.

If you’d like to make an appointment with a doctor at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Ambulatory Care Center, call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.

Asthma in the Winter: Bundle up and Prevent your Symptoms

The cold weather has arrived and aside from worrying about the flu and other upper respiratory infections, people who have asthma should also worry about an increased risk of experiencing an asthma attack. Are you one of the 25.5 million people who have asthma? If so, follow these helpful tips to prevent triggering asthma symptoms or attacks in the cold weather.

 

  • Half hour prior to going out in the cold, take one or two puffs of your inhaler
  • Wrap up well and wear a scarf over your nose and mouth – this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
  • Take extra care when exercising in cold weather. Warm up for 10-15 minutes and take one or two puffs of your inhaler before you start.
  • If possible, avoid fireplaces. As cozy as the thought of a warm fireplace may sound, the burning wood smoke from the fireplace can trigger asthma symptoms or an asthma attack.

Often times, pAsthma_176896123eople stop taking medications because they do not feel any symptoms. If you are on medicines for asthma, consult with your doctor to see if you should continue taking them even when you are asymptomatic.

Create your asthma action plan and share it with your close friends and family. It may be a good idea to make sure your friends and family know what to do if you have an asthma attack and what symptoms to look for such as: coughing more than usual, getting short of breath, wheezing or having difficulty speaking in full sentences.

 

Remember, prevention is key and you can breathe easy knowing your are taking a proactive approach to your asthma condition. By keeping these tips in mind, being consistent with treatments and bundling up in the cold weather, you can still enjoy the winter months.  If you need to speak to a physician about your asthma and plan of action, contact Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to set an appointment at 718-206-7001.