As we head into the winter months and conditions start to cool — even in hotter areas, such as Brisbane and other Queensland locations — this time of year can often cause breathing difficulties amongst asthma sufferers.
The reason for this is the cold, dry winter air often irritates airways, making the muscles to spasm, resulting in coughing and choking as the body tries to draw in enough oxygen to function efficiently.
Anyone who takes our Brisbane first aid course will be in no doubt that the skills necessary to treat an an asthma attack, and avoid hospitalisation or a fatality, are worth the price of admission alone.
Winter is also the season for the flu, as well as colds and other infections of the respiratory system, which are known to exacerbate the symptoms experienced by asthmatics.
The following first aid tips for asthma sufferers, can help make this disease easier to manage in the winter months.
It’s vital to book in for your flu vaccine if you have asthma, to help avoid the flu, colds or respiratory infections that could lead to asthma attacks or hospitalization. We recommend getting your flu vaccine in April or early May at the latest, so your body has the immunity it needs to fight many of the leading viruses and bacterial infections that are prevalent around this time.
It’s also a good idea to speak to your doctor to see if you may need a pneumonia vaccine, especially if you have a compromised immune system.
When exercising outdoors in winter, it’s common for asthmatics to experience shortness of breath. To more effectively manage breathing issues caused by asthma during the winter months, either do shorter, less intensive bouts of exercise outdoors or make the transition to indoor exercise, such as joining a gym or doing fitness classes. Swimming in a heated indoor pool is also a good alternative to exercising outdoors, if you aren’t comfortable going to a gym.
If you are an asthmatic, protecting your airways with a scarf when you’re outdoors will help make it easier for you to breathe. As a scarf warms the air before it enters your airways, you’ll find it’s much easier to draw in than the cool air.
Humidifiers are a great investment for asthmatics in winter as these add moisture to the air, helping to prevent the cool, dry conditions which can affect breathing. In conjunction with this, humidifiers limit mold and bacteria growth, that often contribute to allergic reactions.
Other benefits of a humidifier for asthma sufferers is these can limit the spread of airborne viruses, as well as ease some of the symptoms which often arise from a flu, cold or other respiratory infection. You’ll also sleep better with a humidifier, as your airways are moist.
These tips are crucial for managing asthma during the winter months.
We also recommend investing in First Aid training. You'll be grateful to have the skills necessary to treat asthma symptoms.
Australia-wide First Aid offers cutting edge First Aid courses in Brisbane and elsewhere around Australia, with industry leading trainers and assessors. Contact us today to find out more about our courses.