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Old 11-27-2012, 07:04 PM   #1
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Cold air triggers asthma

I'm already in a flare up and the cold air outside is making it even worse. I live in the northeast. I try avoid going out when it's bitterly cold and wear a scarf when needed. The scarf over the face doesn't really help too much though because after a while I feel like I'm smothering. Is there anything else I can do to at least diminish the effect of cold air as a trigger?

 
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:45 AM   #2
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

You could premedicate if you are going to be outside for more than a few minutes. Or get a facemask. Not sure what else you can do.

 
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

Almost yearly, I seem to post something that reads almost the same as what you just wrote. I like cold air, but my lungs really don't like it anymore.

I take my daily preventative meds, pre-medicate as needed and wear a mask. I've found some D-loop masks that I've had some more success with than just scarves since they mold better around my mouth and nose. There are some with double layers of fleece that are nice. I also found one I really like that has a charcoal filter liner that helps filter out the pollutants that build up in the cold air. I will say that I get teased by my co-workers and family about the mask, but honestly being able to breathe is more important to me. I've also had people stopping me to ask where I found them because they knew someone who could use them also so there are people out there who can relate. You can always put the scarf over the mask if you wanted to hide it.

The last and hardest thing is just avoiding going out whenever I need to. Really hard with work and everyday life. I like in an area that has a lot of skiing so we get a lot of cold days too.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:26 AM   #4
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

Thanks for both of your suggestions! I've never thought of a mask mountainreader. Are those types of masks readily available? I'll definitely look into it. Also I had a question about nebulizers. My asthma educator advised against using one because she said that more medication is lost through the mist than through a regular inhaler. The problem is that sometimes if my chest is really tight and constricted it's hard to breath in enough to use the inhaler. I have season and perennial allergies.

My flare up/cold is still ongoing unfortunately. I've been in the yellow for a while now. I follow it except I don't use the symbicort right before bed because I find it makes no difference how I feel in the morning. I'm very rarely woken up at night by my asthma. I do two puffs three times a day for the symbicort and I use my ventolin(albuterol) every day, several times a day. My asthma educator mentioned trying singulair as well. That I could get samples as it doesn't work for everyone.

 
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

Hi Trinity,

It does really wear on you when you are in the yellow for so long. I've been there way too often over the years.

I found that adding the singulair to my other meds does help. I've just recently gone back on it after a flare triggered in September by nasty air. The Singulair doesn't so much for me by itself, but in combination I find it does help.

I've never had a Dr. mention too much loss of medication with the nebulizer. I just try to take slow easy breaths when I use mine. I don't pull it out too often, but when it is cold out, I'll tend to use it more frequently when I pre-medicate. I've repeatedly had to show dr's and nurses how I use my inhaler so I know I'm using it right, but sometimes the nebulizer just seems to get the meds a bit deeper into the lungs. I'm also calm and really conscious of my breathing for a long period when I do a nebulizer treatment. I wonder how much of an impact that has.

A couple times when I've been stuck in a yellow flare, I've had the Dr. switch my preventative. Advair 500 is my usual, but I've done Symbicort. I'm currently a month or so into Dulera 200 for the first time.

Are you on shots for your allergies? If not, it might be worth looking into for long-term treatment. I'm 5 years into my second go-round with them. 2 years ago, I started receiving Xolair shots for allergic asthma. Before the Xolair, I swore my issues were mainly caused by cold or polluted air and acid refulx. Now, I believe there was a stronger allergic asthma connection than I knew. The Xolair has worked wonders for me and decreased my asthma flares significantly. That is a longer term treatment also though.

As for the masks, I found both the cold air/weather mask and the pollution masks on-line. There are lots of options. They are created for those specific purposes and are fairly inexpensive. The ones I use are created for everyday use and aren't medical. They even have some they make look fun or pretty with various colors or fabrics so you can express yourself or match to your winter gear.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:12 PM   #6
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

Thanks for all of your excellent suggestions mountainreader! My allergist mentioned allergy shots but I worried about the cost.

All I know is that the breathing treatment that they gave me in the ER worked really well. It's the same thing as the nebulizer?

I need to remember to pre-medicate before going outside. During flare ups I have a lot of problems with thick mucus that I can't cough up. It just continues to irritate my airways. It's like that right now. It starts to harden as well.

It's hard to find the right combination of medications for my asthma. I take a 24 hour antihistamine as well. I need it for my perennial allergies as well as seasonal. I've read that antihistamines dry out the airways. Is that true?

I really appreciate all of your help!

Last edited by Trinity12; 11-29-2012 at 02:13 PM.

 
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:24 PM   #7
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

Yes. Antihistimes can be drying. I was on them daily for about 15 years. I just make sure to drink tons of water throughout the day. I also use a humidifier a lot. There are some great nasal saline sprays and gels out there as well to help if your nasal passages get dry.

A lot of people find relief from some of the allergy symptoms through use of a Neti pot as well.

At one point, I was on Singulair, Allegra or Allegra D, Flonase nasal spray and Astelin nasal spray for my allergies daily in addition to the asthma stuff. That is part of why I decided to go back for allergy shots.

I've had breathing treatments at my Dr's office and they use a nebulizer that is just like the one I use at home. I've only needed emergency treatment once and they gave me an epinephrine shot that opened me up quickly and I didn't need a breathing treatment after that.

For my asthma issues, I tend to work with my PCP, my ENT who treats my allergies, does the shots and works with my throat and coughing issues, and a Pulmonologist. There never seems to be a really easy answer.

At least you have a plan and know what you should be doing. Many people with asthma aren't as aware as you are.

Please be careful. The worst asthma attack I ever had hit me while I was driving to work on a cold day. I'd pre-medicated and was wearing a scarf at the time also. I don't wish that on anyone.

Do you have an Epi-pen? If not, I'd recommend you ask about having one on hand. If you have an asthma emergency it can open your airway up until you can reach help. My Dr's make sure I have mine with me all the time. Thank goodness I've never needed it, but I still do carry it just in case. Cold air is a nasty asthma trigger.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

I use avamys(steroid) nasal spray. I tried using a neti pot but for some reason it dried out my nose too much. I drink all of the time. I'm always thirsty. I also eat a lot of soup which seems to help with the congestion a little. The soup is definitely comforting.

That's scary to have a horrible asthma attack when you do what you're supposed to do with a cold air trigger! That must have been terrible! When it's really bitterly cold it feels like someone hit me in the chest knocking all of the wind out of me. When that happens I get somewhere with warm air so that it's easier to use my inhaler. I tried using it in the cold but it was too hard to breathe in enough to use it.

I have an epi pen because of a severe tree nut allergy. My epi pens have expired though so I will need to get new ones. Can I still use them until I get new ones?

 
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:58 PM   #9
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

You could call your pharmacist about the expired epi-pen. Honestly, as long as it was still clear and not too far expired I'd use it in an emergency. It would be a good idea to see if your doc would call in a refill though. It really could be a literal lifesaver for you if you had a bad incident.

Hang strong. You are doing a lot of things right. Even when it is frustrating that they aren't always as effective as you need them to be.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:23 AM   #10
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

I will definitely call it the epi pen at some point. Thanks for all the encouragement mountainreader! Hopefully this flare will end soon! I will hang in there!

 
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:17 PM   #11
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Re: Cold air triggers asthma

Yeah I find that my asthma starts up when its cold outside, I think I'll check into getting a mask for when its cold outside cause I walk up the street and back to my house twice, 2 to 3 sometimes 4 times a day so a mask would really help during cold weather

 
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