Seasonal changes can have great impact on your health. Onset of winters can be harsh for people suffering from COPD, asthma, bronchitis, and other lung diseases. Cold weather and respiratory disorders are closely connected so let’s look at those and learn to deal with them.
Why Does Cold Air Irritate Respiratory Disorders?
Air is cold and dry in winters. Our airways have a thin layer of fluid, and when we inhale dry air that fluid evaporates faster than normal. In some cases, the fluid evaporates quicker than it can be replaced. This causes the throat to become dry leading to irritation and swelling, hence worsens the symptoms of COPD and asthma.
Mucus production also increases in winters, it is the protective layer of the throat. Mucus produced in cold weather is thicker and stickier than normal which can cause blockages in the respiratory system and also increases your chances of catching a cold or other infections.
Tips for Dealing with Cold Weather
There are certain ways to help deal with the cold and dry air that winter brings. For people with respiratory problems, it is advisable to take extra precautions during these months to avoid an onset of symptoms.
•Take all the medication as prescribed, keep your inhaler handy and use it at least thirty minutes before stepping outside in cold.
•Cover your nose and mouth with scarf, you can also use air mask to avert the harmful effects of temperature changes on the airways and the lungs.
•Avoid outdoor exercises as it can trigger your respiratory problems. As you exercise, your breathing and heart rate increase, people tend to inhale through their mouth, which brings on irritation and swelling.
•Make it a habit to breathe in through your nose and not from your mouth. Your nose has blood vessels that humidify the air before it gets to your lungs. Increased mouth inhalation brings cold & dry air straight to your lungs.
•Keep yourself warm and covered in winters. Eat citrus fruits and healthy vegetables to keep the various infections and cold at bay.
•Light indoor exercises are a great way to keep the body warm.
•Avoid smoking as it will aggravates your breathing problem.
The author of this article is Dr. Pankaj Chhabra, who is Sr. Pulmonologist at Metro Heart Institute with Multispecialty. He has treated thousands of national and international patients for critical respiratory disorders. Dr. Pankaj specializes in advanced COPD, chronic bronchial asthma, interstitial lung diseases, bronchoscopy, thoracoscopy and sleep study.