Health Watch - Winter Fun: Asthma

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about outdoor winter fun. If you feel like it’s harder to breathe when you participate in cold weather activities, you’re not imagining it. Winter can make exercise-induced asthma worse.

If you’re coughing, wheezing or feeling short of breath when you’re active, you may be experiencing exercise-induced asthma. Dr. Indu Warrier, an allergist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that the cold, dry air of winter can dry the mucus-producing tissues that line respiratory passages, making exercise-induced asthma symptoms worse. That doesn’t mean you have to give up being active in cold weather if you have asthma. To prevent exercise-induced asthma, you should follow your doctor’s advice to keep your asthma under control with maintenance medication. Use your inhaler or medication for exercise-induced asthma 15 to 20 minutes before outside activity.

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January 2011


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