Cold weather can cause flare-up of condition that affects millions in the UK

Asthma: St John Ambulance explain how to help during attack

Asthma affects around 5.4 million people in the UK, which can flare-up during winter, said Dr Desai.

The national GP lead at Nuffield Health described asthma as a “lung condition that can cause issues with breathing”.

Dr Desai said: “During the winter months, it can be affected by any infection that impacts the respiratory system.

“And these infections can cause acute flare-ups of asthma, making asthma symptoms worse.”

Asthma symptoms include:

  • Wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
  • Breathlessness
  • A tight chest – it may feel like a band is tightening around it
  • Coughing.

READ MORE… Dr Hilary warns of three health issues that may be triggered by central heating

Illnesses more likely during winter, which could trigger asthma, include viral infections.

Examples include common colds, influenza, Covid, as well as bacterial chest infections.

Another asthma trigger is the change in temperature, which Dr Desai expanded on.

“Cold air and an increase in central heating are drying to the environment which can exacerbate asthma by increasing mucous production in the lungs,” said Dr Desai.

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“Where possible, we recommend keeping warm but ensure environments are humid, but not damp.”

Asthma triggers

There are numerous asthma triggers, which can vary from person to person.

The leading charity Asthma and Lung UK expanded on asthma triggers to be conscious of.

Triggers can range from food and drinks to feelings and exercise.

To expand on the asthma triggers of food, the charity says a small number of asthmatics may have food allergies that trigger symptoms of asthma.

Some of the most common allergens include:

  • Gluten
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soya.

It’s important for all asthmatics to have an annual check-up at their doctor’s surgery.

Dr Desai said: “For those who suffer from asthma, during the colder months, keep your inhalers close, be aware of your environment (avoiding small spaces or crowded areas), maintain good hand hygiene and, if you feel unwell for a period of time, seek medical advice.”

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