The Weather-Asthma Connection
Scientific studies show that weather can affect asthma symptoms. Some people find their asthma symptoms are worse at certain times of the year. For others, a severe storm or sudden weather change may trigger an attack.
Cold, dry air is a common asthma trigger and can cause severe symptoms, especially for people who play winter sports and have asthma symptoms when they exercise. Hot, humid air also can trigger asthma symptoms. In certain areas, heat and sunlight combine with pollutants to create ground-level ozone, which can be a strong asthma trigger.
Wet weather (which encourages the growth of mold) and windy weather (which blows pollen and mold in the air) can cause problems, too.
If you think weather may be triggering your asthma, work with your doctor to track your symptoms using an asthma symptoms trigger diary. Talk to your doctor about allergy testing if you think that your asthma symptoms may be triggered by pollen, mold, or other allergens.
Tips to Try
Once you've figured out what kind of air quality or weather affects you, here are some steps you can take:
- Watch the weather forecast: Many forecasts give information on pollen counts and other conditions that might affect your asthma.
- Limit your outdoor activity on days when your triggers are strongest.
- Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose when you're outside during very cold weather.
- Close windows to keep pollens and molds out. This can be particularly important at night while you are sleeping. If it's hot, turn on the air conditioning — not only is air conditioning cooling, it also dries and even filters the air you breathe.
- Stay indoors early in the morning (before 10 AM) when pollen levels are at their highest.
- Avoid mowing the lawn and raking leaves.
- Keep your rescue medicine with you at all times.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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