Winter is a time to hunker down inside, a time to catch up on books you’ve been meaning to read or binge-watch shows you felt too guilty to watch when the weather was warm. But Dr. Jingli Ma, a pulmonologist at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, said it’s also prime time for asthma flare-ups.
Here are five things to know about asthma in the winter:
- Dust and mold hiding behind sinks or furniture are dislodged by heating units dormant since last year, which, coupled with poor ventilation, can cause asthma flare-ups for those spending more time at home.
- Cold air is a trigger for asthma, and so are scented holiday decorations like candles or Christmas trees. Exercise should not cause severe breathing problems, so if you or your child has trouble breathing after going to the gym or taking a lap around Spot Pond, see a doctor.
- Breathing problems can be the sign of something serious, like a cardiac issue. Though people with asthma may think they know how to deal with flare-ups, Dr. Ma said people should see a doctor when they have trouble breathing.
- Keeping track of triggers, rashes, palpitations, fever and the duration of breathing problems can help a doctor determine if wheezing or shortness of breath stem from asthma or another medical problem.
- Though asthma is associated with children, it is also common among adults in their 40′s and 50′s.
Originally published by the Melrose Free Press on December 14, 2016