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Asthmatics: don’t get caught out by the sudden changes in weather

15 September 2017


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Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is reminding those with asthma to take some simple steps to help ease symptoms and prevent them from becoming more severe.

It’s not just summer heat waves and spring pollen allergies that can cause a spike in asthma symptoms - many asthma sufferers will be feeling the effects of sudden changes in weather that come with autumnal mornings.

Cold air can cause the lungs of people with asthma to tighten up, but the main culprit is believed to be the cold-and-flu season, which kicks into gear once kids head back to school.

Classrooms filled with runny noses become breeding grounds for cold and flu viruses, which children inevitably spread to their families.

People with asthma aren’t more likely to catch a virus than people without asthma, but when they do, their illness tends to be longer and more severe.

Dr Dayo Kuku, Clinical Lead for Respiratory at BCCG and local GP said: “Although the cold weather has not hit us yet, autumn can still be problematic for asthmatics as changes in the weather can cause a flare up of asthma symptoms making life difficult. If you have witnessed or experienced an asthma attack you will know how frightening it can be. However by taking a few preventative steps, you can stay on top of the symptoms.”

Those with breathing problems should:

1)    Ensure you have adequate stocks of all prescribed asthma medications.  Make sure you have and use your preventer and reliever inhalers as prescribed and enough steroid medications if you take these. And if you don’t have to use your inhalers very often don’t forget to check that they are in date.

2)    Keep your medicine cabinet stocked with over the counter medication.  Cough and cold remedies should always be at hand as colds and flu can have a severe impact on asthmatics.  Be sure to avoid any medications that might not be suitable for people with the condition. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine use review.

3)    Keep warm.  The weather might not be freezing but it can still be chilly so make sure you wrap up when outside.

4)    Have an asthma action plan/review your plan. You can download asthma action plans for adults and children at www.asthma.org.uk and fill these in with your GP or asthma nurse.  An action plan will help you to monitor and stay on top of your symptoms and know when to seek help for your condition.  You should review your plan with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, and whenever you have a flare up or worsening of your asthma symptoms. People who use their written asthma action plan are four times less likely to be admitted to hospital for their asthma.

For more advice on asthma visit: www.nhs.uk/asthma 

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