Asthma and cold weather

Patient

Q:
My friend has lots of trouble breathing when the weather gets colder outside and I believe this is from his asthma. Every time winter starts rolling around he starts to wheez. Is there something we can do besides using an asthma inhaler to correct this problem? Thanks in Advance for your help.

Doctor

A:   Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs in which an overreaction of the bronchi is produced to certain allergens causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing.
Certainly the most common asthma triggers are smoke, dust, dust mites, pets, and mold. Other common triggers are strenuous physical exercise; some medicines; bad weather, such as thunderstorms, high humidity, or freezing temperatures. Regarding cold weather; cold air triggers directly a reaction of the bronchi and indirectly because it freezes little tiny hairs that collect dust in your respiratory tracts and allow other allergens to reach your bronchi. I would suggest him to also avoid direct air form heaters and wool linen that might be producing a reaction. A visit to his doctor for a prescription of Leukotrien Receptor Antagonist such as Zafirlukast which acts by blocking the action of certain natural substances that cause swelling and tightening of the airways might help him control his asthma. I wish him a prompt recovery.

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