Cold dry air can trigger attacks
If working out makes you wheeze, you’re not alone. People with exercise-induced asthma have airways that are overly sensitive to temperature and humidity. And the upper respiratory infections common in winter can exacerbate the problem.
Here are five precautions to take if you have exercise-induced asthma:
- Use asthma medications. A short-acting beta-2 agonist, such as albuterol, inhaled 15 to 20 minutes before exercise, can prevent airway spasms for several hours. A long-acting bronchodilator will hold off triggers for 12 hours.
- Do 10-minute warm-ups and cool-downs. This helps your airways adjust and is a good idea whatever the temperature.
- Breathe through a scarf. While exercising, wrap a scarf around your nose to help pre-warm the air as you breathe harder.
- Don’t exercise outside in frigid temperatures. Take your workout inside a gym or to a yoga studio.
- Don’t exercise when you have a cold. Give yourself time to recover before exercising, especially if you have a cough or other upper respiratory issues.
Maintaining optimal control over exercise-induced asthma requires teamwork. So consider seeing a primary care sports medicine physician to help you keep your asthma controlled when you exercise.