Now that the cold weather is beginning, we need to be extra careful with our health. Because of the cold, we will be spending more time indoors and so will be exposed to more indoor air pollution such as dust and mites. For some of us, the combination of cold and indoor pollution could lead to us developing symptoms of asthma. If you’re already asthmatic, the cold could make your symptoms worse.

 Other triggers for winter asthma and allergy symptoms are carbon monoxide gas from heating devices, cigarette smoke, and fumes from paints and furniture. Outdoor air pollution might also be coming into your home and can cause winter asthma as well as other negative health effects.

 Around 5.4 million people have asthma in the UK and according to Asthma UK, three quarters of people with asthma say that cold air is a trigger for their symptoms and 90% reckon that having a cold or flu makes their asthma considerably worse.

 If your asthma is well-controlled you are more likely to be able to withstand the risks of winter months. You can help keep your asthma under control by making sure you have a regular asthma review with your doctor nurse.

 Keep a close eye on the weather forecast. If your asthma is triggered by the cold, you could try to warm the air up before it enters your lungs by either breathing through your nose or wrapping a scarf around your nose and mouth.  It’s also a good idea to make sure you and your friends and family know what to do if you have an asthma attack.

 The key signs to watch out for are:

- coughing more than usual

- getting short of breath

- wheezing

-  tightness in your chest

-  difficulty speaking in full sentences

 If you are worried about developing asthma during the cold weather, Allergy Cosmos, an allergy control specialist, suggests the following to stay asthma free:

 1. Check your windows are free of condensation – damp conditions encourage mould and mildew

2. Check your home is leak proof, and that pipes are well-lagged against freezing (you don’t want a damp house because of a burst pipe)

3. Have your boiler serviced

4. Limit dust mite allergens in your home by washing all bedding and clothes regularly with allergy and asthma friendly laundry detergent

5. If you have carpets make sure to clean them with allergy friendly carpet spray and powder, and have your carpets professionally cleaned every 6 months

6. Clean the air in your home (especially in the bedroom) with a powerful and effective HEPA air purifier – this will take bacteria and viruses out of the air in your home and prevent you from getting sick and spreading airborne infections.

 Enjoy the festive season asthma-free!