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Triggers for Winter Time Asthma

The cold wind is howling, the ski slopes are calling, and inside, the wood fireplace is burning.  This sounds perfect unless you have asthma— then it could spell trouble.   Winter time can bring many triggers of asthma.

Cold air is a powerful trigger of bronchospasm (narrowing of the airways). Our lungs prefer warm and humid air.  Cold dry air can lead to a state of dehydration in the small airways releasing chemical mediators of inflammation.

Exercise is a very common trigger of asthma, affecting up to 70% of persons with asthma.  It can affect both the casual athlete as well as the elite athlete.  Exercise may be the sole trigger of asthma. This type of asthma is termed exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB).  On the other hand, exercise as a trigger may just be the “tip of the iceberg” of persistent asthma.

Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain very small particles and harmful gases that if inhaled can trigger asthma. If you can smell smoke, then you are inhaling it.

  This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.

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