Extreme cold is still hitting many parts of the United States, which isn’t good news if you suffer from asthma. Of course, most doctors only talk about different inhalers and drugs that you can take to “manage” your asthma symptoms. And they never mention the simple, natural, and effective steps that you can take to prevent attacks in the first place!
I’ll tell you all about five of them in a moment. But first, let’s talk about the three biggest dangers people with asthma face during the winter…
Watch out for these common triggers in winter
When temperatures fall to extreme lows, just walking to your car or getting the mail can trigger an asthma attack. Here’s why…
Your entire respiratory system is coated with a thin mucus blanket, which traps undesirable particles. Then, the tiny hairs that line your respiratory system, which are called cilia, help sweep the particles out.
But when you go outside in cold weather, your body starts producing more mucus—especially if you have asthma. And a thicker mucus blanket impairs the cilia’s ability to sweep particles out. Instead, some mucus becomes “stuck.” This can also cause bronchoconstriction, which restricts normal breathing and causes coughing, wheezing, and tightness.
Plus, when you inhale cold air, mucus in your nose becomes thicker and more profuse. That’s why your nose tends to run in cold weather.
So now that you know a little more about your respiratory system, let’s take a look at common triggers for asthma sufferers…
- Cold air. Cold air causes the lungs in people with asthma to release histamine. This action, in turn, irritates and constricts air passages and causes wheezing. It also stimulates the production of even more mucus.
- Dry or dusty air. Spending all your time indoors during the winter can also wreak havoc on asthma, as dry air can exacerbate symptoms. Not to mention, many asthmatics also suffer from dust mite allergies, so spending time inside a dusty house can also cause a flare-up.
- Smoke. Stay away from woodstoves or fireplaces, as the smoke can trigger an asthma attack. Even if you don’t burn a fire in your own home, a neighbor’s fire can still bother you. Especially when coupled with cold, dry air.
- Stress. In a recent survey, 43 percent of people with asthma reported that feeling stressed can bring on an asthma attack or exacerbate their symptoms. And, of course, many people often report feeling more stressed during the winter and around the holidays.
Controlling asthma without resorting to drugs or inhalers
Now, let’s move onto the five simple steps you can take to avoid these common triggers and improve your respiratory function in the winter…
1.) Take precautions against cold air
Avoid going outside when it’s extremely cold or windy. And when you do venture out, drink a cup of hot tea or coffee beforehand. (Keep reading to learn why.) In addition, wear a scarf that can loosely cover your nose and mouth. This precaution will help warm the air before it enters your lungs and may also help prevent a bronchospasm.
2.) Use steam preventatively
As soon as you begin to cough or wheeze indoors, try breathing in the warm air from a pot of boiling water (to which you can add a drop of an essential plant oil like eucalyptus). You can drape a towel over the back and top of your head to funnel and focus the steam onto your face. Very often, this action is enough to tame an asthma attack.
In addition, to prevent attacks in the first place, consider running a humidifier in your home to pump moisture back into the dry, indoor air. You should also stay hydrated by drinking plenty of rooibos South African tea, which keeps you hydrated on a cellular level.
3.) Try this ancient mind-body technique
There’s a growing body of evidence that acupuncture effectively prevents and relieves asthma symptoms. In fact, I wrote a full report on this compelling evidence in the May 2013 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Ancient cure for COPD and asthma symptoms could make inhalers and drugs obsolete!”).
If you have good insurance, you can probably expect to pay just $20 to $40 per visit to receive treatment for asthma from an acupuncturist. In addition, regular exercise, hypnosis, and biofeedback can also help improve lung function and boost your general sense of well-being.
4.) Enjoy a cup of Joe
Caffeine is also an excellent, natural bronchodilator. Which is why I recommend you drink a cup of coffee before venturing out into the cold. You should also aim to drink a few cups of it throughout the day. Not only will it help improve your asthma symptoms, it also has many other health benefits as well.
5.) Supplement with the sunshine vitamin
A recent review of nine clinical trials shows that vitamin D—the do-it-all vitamin— can not only treat asthma safely, but also effectively. In fact, the researchers found that small daily doses of D reduced the risk of serious asthma episodes by more than one-third!
You can learn much more about how to manage and prevent asthma attacks in my brand new Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol. This comprehensive online learning tool gives you natural ways to strengthen your lungs and protect yourself from lung disease—America’s third most lethal killer. Click here to learn more, or to enroll, today.
“Asthma and Stress.” Asthma UK, 3/2019. (asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/stress/)