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Asthma in Winter: Tips for Minimizing Attacks

Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 01:36 PM EST

Asthma affects more than 22 million Americans of all ages. The wintertime poses its own set of triggers.

Gayle Richardson is breathing easier these days, now that she has her asthma under control. But certain things trigger her condition, especially this time of year.

"I have more issues with asthma in the wintertime because of the colds and the flu virus that are floating around," Richardson said. "If I get something like that, it will definitely have a stronger effect on me"

This is common in people with the chronic lung condition, says Dr. Stanley Fineman.

Asthmatics have airways that are very hyper-sensitive, they're already inflamed, so the virus does more damage in the asthmatic patients than they would do in somebody who doesn't have asthma.  Inflamed and swollen lungs can make it difficult to breathe.

To minimize attacks during winter, Dr. Fineman offers advice to patients:

-Most importantly, know your triggers.
-Cold air can exacerbate the condition, as can windy weather.
-Stay on long-term control medication.
-Remember indoor irritants too- things like smoke, scented candles and fireplaces.

Fineman recommends a flu shot for everyone with the condition. His final tip to keep healthy could be the simplest: good hand washing and good hygiene is important.

Asthma in Winter: Tips for Minimizing Attacks

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