Learning to Breathe Easy
Cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. People with asthma should be especially careful in winter.
A recent Indian Study on Epidemiology of Asthma, Respiratory Symptoms & Chronic Bronchitis (INSEARCH) suggested around 18 million Asthmatics in India which accounts for 3-38% in children & 2-12% in adults.(ref: Lung India>v.32(Suppl 1);2015 Apr>PMC4405918)
Asthma is a chronic long lasting disease that usually affects the lung which can begin in childhood or adulthood. Without proper care, it can become serious; especially in winters. Asthma patients would usually present with the following symptoms:
- Wheezing in the chest (whistling or whirling sound in the chest)
- Breathlessness either at rest or on activity
- Cough worsening in the night
- Chest tightness & pain due to continuous coughing
The airways of asthmatics are prone to some inflammatory reaction which narrows the airways. They at times become over sensitive to certain substances like pollens or for that matter even cold air. And when the symptoms suddenly flare up; we commonly term it as “Asthmatic attack”!!
Top tip to prevent or minimise asthmatic episodes:
- Stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out, wear a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth.
- Be extra vigilant about taking your regular medications, and keep reliever inhalers close by
- Improve your respiratory endurance with breathing exercises, and respirometry
- Enroll for Pulmonary Rehabwith a physiotherapist, that includes for :
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Thoracic Expansion &
- Positioning techniques useful for breathing easily during the episode