Our Winter Wellness guide contains top tips to help people with asthma and/or COPD control their condition during the winter months.
Winter Wellness Guide for People with Asthma and COPD
1. Put an Asthma Action Plan/COPD Communications Card in place:
An Asthma Action Plan/COPD Communications Card is a document that contains all the information a person with asthma/COPD needs to keep their condition in control. Every person with asthma/COPD should have one. These can be downloaded for free from asthma.ie/COPD.ie and should be filled out with your healthcare professional.
Click here to download your Asthma Action Plan
2. Get the flu and pneumo vaccination:
The flu is a very serious, highly contagious, disease, especially for those living with a lung condition. Pneumo, or Pneumococcal disease, is a major cause of illness and death in Ireland, particularly among the very young, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system. Substantially reduce your risk of contracting the flu and pneumococcal disease by getting vaccinated today.
3. Follow the HSE’s advice on preventing the spread of COVID-19
It is extremely important that we all work together to reduce the number of people contracting COVID-19. This highly contagious illness can be very problematic for people with asthma, especially those with severe asthma. Following this advice may also reduce your risk of other illnesses such as colds and flu which can also trigger asthma and COPD symptoms.
4. Take your medication as prescribed and carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times.
People with asthma should carry their reliever inhaler with them at all times. This is especially important during the winter months as respiratory triggers are so prevalent.
If you are using your reliever inhaler more than twice a week, please speak to your healthcare professional as this may be an indication that your condition is not controlled and you may be at risk of an asthma attack.
It extremely important that you ensure you are using your asthma/COPD devices correctly to get the most of your medications. For demonstrations on the majority of asthma and COPD inhaler devices on the market, click here.
5. Remember, cold air can trigger your asthma/COPD
- Cold air is a common trigger for people with asthma and COPD. There are number of practical steps you can take during the Winter months to reduce the risk of cold air triggering your asthma/COPD:
- Wrap up well. If you do plan to go outside during cold weather, wrap a scarf around your nose and mouth. This will both heat and humidify the air, making breathing easier.
- Keep the house warm. It’s important to stay warm during the winter months but make sure your home is well ventilated. If wind and rain triggers your respiratory condition, keep windows closed on particularly bad days.
- Exercise indoors. Cold and damp air can irritate the airwaves, especially for those living with a respiratory condition such as asthma and COPD. Exercising indoors is a great way of improving lung function while also staying warm.
- Check the weather forecast. Try to limit trips outside during particularly cold, wet, and windy weather, which might make breathing more difficult.
- Breathe in through your nose. Try to breathe in through your nose as much as possible, instead of your mouth, this will help to heat the air before it reaches your lungs.
Remeber to use our free services:
If you have any questions about anything mentioned in our Winter Wellness Guide, winter triggers, medications or keeping well with asthma/COPD this Winter; freephone the Asthma Society’s HSE-funded Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 to speak to an asthma/COPD nurse or send a message to our free Slaintecare-funded WhatsApp service on 086 050 0132 where a nurse will get back to you as soon as possible.
We need your help now, more than ever:
Here in the Asthma Society we provide people with asthma and COPD with much needed support services.
Our two core services, our free Asthma and COPD Adviceline and our Asthma and COPD WhatsApp messaging service, allow people with asthma to connect to an asthma/COPD nurse who will work with them on an ongoing basis to help them better their health by getting in control of their asthma. These services are completley free to the user.
In order to fund these crucial services we need your help:
Respiratory Physician, Professor Marcus Butler joined respiratory nurse specialist Ruth Morrow to discuss managing asthma, especially during the colder winter months.