As winter approaches in Australia, it brings with it the added challenge of smoke from bushfires, cigarettes, and wood-burning heaters. For people with asthma, this can be a double whammy. Smoke can exacerbate asthma symptoms, and the colder, drier air of winter can also trigger asthma attacks. In this article, we will explore the impact of smoke and Australian winter on asthma and what people can do to manage their symptoms.
The Impact of Smoke on Asthma:
Smoke from bushfires, cigarettes, and wood-burning heaters can be harmful to individuals with asthma. The particles in smoke can irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In addition, smoke can cause inflammation in the airways, which can make it difficult for individuals with asthma to breathe. Exposure to smoke can also increase the risk of asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and even death.
The Impact of Winter on Asthma:
Cold, dry air is a common trigger for asthma attacks. In winter, the air is colder and less humid, which can cause the airways to constrict and become inflamed. This can make breathing difficult and trigger asthma symptoms. Additionally, respiratory viruses are more common in winter, and these can also exacerbate asthma.
To manage asthma symptoms during winter, it is essential to keep the airways warm and hydrated. This can be achieved by wearing a scarf over the mouth and nose when outside, using a humidifier indoors, and drinking plenty of fluids.
How to Protect Yourself
If you have asthma, it is essential to take steps to protect yourself during the winter months and when exposed to smoke. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy:
- Keep an eye on the air quality in your area. Check the air quality index regularly, and avoid going outside when the air quality is poor.
- Use your inhaler as prescribed. Make sure you have a sufficient supply of medication and use it as prescribed by your doctor.
- Wear a mask when going outside. A mask can help filter out smoke and other irritants in the air.
- Keep your home smoke-free. Avoid smoking or using wood-burning heaters in your home, and make sure your home is well-ventilated.
- Stay warm and hydrated. Dress warmly when going outside, and drink plenty of fluids to keep your airways hydrated.
Smoke and winter in Australia can affect individuals with asthma. It is essential to take steps to protect yourself, such as monitoring air quality, using your inhaler as prescribed, wearing a mask, keeping your home smoke-free, and staying warm and hydrated. By taking these steps, you can help manage your asthma and stay healthy during the winter months.