Athletes all over the world train amidst severe winter weather conditions. Many competitive athletes have asthma, but they don’t let it get in the way of living a full life or pursuing their dreams.
National Jewish Health patient and professional freestyle skier Jake Cohn is one of those people. Jake nearly died at birth due to severe asthma. As a child, Jake worked with doctors in the National Jewish Health pediatrics department to keep his asthma in control. As an adult, he now sees Dr. David Beuther, who gave him a personalized, proactive and preventive treatment plan for his asthma. With Dr. Beuther’s help, Jake learned how to take his asthma seriously and manage his condition before it began to manage him.
"Never say you can't do something because of your asthma. Don't let it get you down." - Jake Cohn
How to Manage Your Asthma in the Winter
Jake offers the following tips to help you manage your asthma in the cold winter weather.
- Temperature changes can be a shock to your lungs, so plan accordingly if you’re traveling from one climate to another
- Your lungs like warm, damp air, not cold, dry air; a humidifier in your home can make breathing more comfortable
- Try to exercise indoors if possible
- When going outside, wear a face mask and keep your face covered
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth – the nasal passages warm the air and the tiny hairs in your nose help to get rid of irritants
- Plan ahead for your prescription medication
- Ask your doctor and pharmacy about a 90-day supply of asthma medication, that way you’ll always have enough on hand
- Avoid getting sick
- wash your hands often
- get enough sleep
- eat healthy
- exercise to keep your body strong
- Get a flu shot every year and prevent the spread of flu
- Take your regularly prescribed medication – it will help to prevent asthma flares
- If you can feel yourself getting sick, take some time out to nurse your body back to health.
See an Asthma Specialist for the Best Care
Asthma specialists at National Jewish Health can help you live a better life. Why? Because they understand that asthma and asthma treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Because each person is different, so is his or her asthma.
Jake recommends the following when it comes to asthma care:
- See an asthma specialist, as they are proactive not reactive; asthma care is more than just treating the symptoms, it’s about learning what causes them and how to prevent them in the future
- Once you find a doctor who is a good fit for you, stick with them so they can get to know you and your asthma patterns
- With the proper team and treatment on your side, you can achieve your goals just like Jake and other competitive athletes
Take Your Asthma Seriously
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can “tough it out” with your asthma. If you’re coughing all day long or are ignoring asthma symptoms like excessive congestion or mucus, you could be making your health worse. The longer you ignore symptoms, the harder they can be to treat.
More tips for managing asthma in winter