Patient Blog
Published: February 26, 2021

Cold weather can affect your asthma or COPD. Here’s what to do.

If you have asthma or COPD, you may have noticed that cold weather affects your ability to breathe.

This may happen because cold air dries and irritates the airways, increasing inflammation and making it harder for you to breathe. You may find that you cough, wheeze or feel breathless more often when it’s cold outside.

It’s not always possible to stay inside all winter, so we’ve put together a few tips on how to manage your asthma and COPD during the colder months.

  1. Wear a scarf (or a mask!) outside. Covering your mouth when you’re outside will help protect your airways by warming the air before you breathe it in.
  2. Breathe through your nose. If you breathe through your nose, your airways will fill with warm air, rather than cold air breathed in through your mouth.
  3. Exercise indoors. Consider moving your workout inside; even people without asthma or COPD can experience shortness of breath working out in cold weather. Doing an exercise video in your living room, or taking a socially distanced exercise class inside, may be a better option for people with asthma or COPD.
  4. If you use oxygen, keep your hose under your coat. If you have COPD and use oxygen to help you breathe, keep your oxygen hose under your coat to keep the air warm.

If you do have symptoms that are exacerbated by the cold, you can note this in Propeller by visiting Timeline, then tapping on a rescue inhaler event to add “cold air” to the details.

For more information, visit these helpful posts from The Cleveland Clinic and Lung Health Institute.

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