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The Weather-Asthma Connection

Weather can bring on asthma symptoms. Some people find their asthma gets worse at certain times of the year. For others, a severe storm or sudden weather change may trigger a flare-up.

Cold, dry air is a common asthma trigger. Cold, dry air can cause bad flare-ups. That's especially true for people who play winter sports and have exercise-induced asthma.

Hot, humid air also can be a problem. In some places, heat and sunlight combine with pollutants to create ground-level ozone. This kind of ozone can be a strong asthma trigger.

Wet weather and windy weather can cause problems, too. Wet weather encourages the growth of mold, and wind can blow mold and pollen through the air.

If you think weather may be triggering your asthma, work with your doctor to track your symptoms using an asthma symptoms trigger diary. Do you think that your asthma may be triggered by pollen, mold, or other allergens? Ask your doctor about allergy testing.

Tips to Try

If air quality or weather affect you, there are some things you can try to make things better:

Seasonal Allergies sidebar

  • 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 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 a.m.) when pollen levels are at their highest.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn and raking leaves.
  • Keep your quick-relief medicine with you at all times.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014

 
Other Related KidsHealth Articles:
Asthma Center
Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.
Can People With Asthma Play Sports?
Exercise helps strengthen the breathing muscles in the chest, which is especially important for people with asthma because it can help the lungs work better. Find out which sports are best for someone with asthma.
Dealing With an Asthma Flare-Up
Asthma flare-ups, or attacks, can be handled, but it's even better if you can prevent them from happening. Find out how to deal with flare-ups.
Dealing With Asthma Triggers
Triggers are substances or activities that are harmless to most people. But in people with asthma, they can lead to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Read this article for tips on dealing with asthma triggers.
Do Allergies Cause Asthma?
Some things that cause an allergic reaction, such as pollen or dust, can also trigger asthma symptoms. But not everyone who has allergies develops asthma and not all case of asthma are related to allergies. Find out about the connection here.
Ozone, Air Quality, and Asthma
Ozone and other things that pollute the air can be problems for people with asthma and can cause asthma flare-ups. Find out how to deal with ozone.
 
Related Resources:
AIRNow
A cross-agency U.S. government website, AIRNow provides useful air quality information, including daily Air Quality Index forecasts and details on conditions in more than 300 U.S. cities.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
The ACAAI is an organization of allergists-immunologists and health professionals dedicated to quality patient care. Contact them at: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 85 W. Algonquin Road Suite 550 Arlington Heights, IL 60005 (800) 842-7777
American Lung Association
The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association 61 Broadway, 6th Floor NY, NY 10006 (212) 315-8700