As we enter the beginning of February, the temperatures are now starting to plummet and it is very noticeably colder outside. Hopefully you are all wrapped up warm though when braving to venture out into the outdoors.
We say this because a sudden change in weather, and especially cold air, can actually trigger an asthma attack. If so you’re not the only one.
Every 10 seconds somebody in the UK somebody has a potentially deadly asthma attack and in a recent survey, 75% of participants highlighted cold air as one of the factors behind their asthma symptoms. Damp weather, thunderstorms, hot weather and a sudden change in temperatures may also induce symptoms for those with asthma.
Particularly during the winter months when the temperatures are at their lowest, Asthma UK have offered important advice on ways to keep your symptoms in check whilst it is cold outside:
- Carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times and keep taking your regular preventer inhaler as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you need to use your inhaler more often than usual, speak to your doctor about reviewing your medication.
- Keep warm and dry – wear gloves, a scarf and a hat, and carry an umbrella.
- Wrap a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth – this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
- Try breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth as your nose warms the air as you breathe in.
Affecting people of all ages and usually beginning in childhood, 5.4 million – or around one in every 11 people – in the UK has asthma. That is a significant amount of the nation that are at risk.
Therefore, Asthma UK are urging those who use social media platforms to take and then share a ‘seasonal selfie’ in order to boost awareness about the dangers that cold winter air bring to asthma sufferers.
Many famous faces have even got on board with the new ‘scarfie’ campaign, with celebrities such as Nadiya Hussain, Anton Du Beke, Andrew Castle and Karen Pickering using twitter to tweet #Scarfie – a selfie with a scarf covering their nose and mouth – as a way to increase awareness for the charity.
How a scarf can make a difference
Many of you with asthma maybe wondering, how can a scarf help me? Wrapped loosely over the nose and mouth, it will warm up the air that you take in, helping to stop cold air from causing irritation inside the airways and thus kick-starting an asthma attack.
Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s in-house GP, said: “During the winter people are at greater risk of having a life-threatening asthma attack due to seasonal triggers such as cold air and cold and flu viruses. Wrapping a scarf loosely around your mouth and nose warms up the air before you breathe it in, which can reduce your risk of an asthma attack.”
Three people are losing their life every day because of an asthma attack and two thirds of these deaths could have been prevented.
January is usually the most dangerous month of the year for asthmatics, with an average of 154 asthma-related deaths in the first month of the year. Contrasted against an average of 73 in August, it seems becomes clear why more awareness is needed regarding the lung condition and how to best protect one’s self.
Therefore, why not engage with your social media friends and followers by posting your own #Scarfie, having some fun whilst also helping to raise awareness about asthma and the absolute importance of helping yourself to lower the risk of experiencing an asthma attack.