The effect of weather on asthma symptoms isn't fully understood, but clearly there is a link. Numerous studies have shown a variety of connections, such as increases in asthma-related emergency department visits when certain weather conditions are present. Some people find that their asthma symptoms get worse at specific times of year. For others, a severe storm or sudden weather change may trigger an attack.
Exposure to cold, dry air is a common asthma trigger and can quickly cause severe symptoms. People with exercise-induced asthma who participate in winter sports are especially susceptible. Dry, windy weather can stir up pollen and mold in the air, leading to problems for some people.
Hot, humid air also can trigger asthma symptoms, and wet weather encourages the growth of mold spores, another asthma trigger. In certain areas, heat and sunlight combine with pollutants to create ground-level ozone, which is also an asthma trigger.
Studies have shown that thunderstorms can trigger asthma attacks. One study showed that during thunderstorms, the daily number of emergency department visits for asthma increased by 15%. The study concluded that the problem was caused by the number of fungal spores in the air, which almost doubled. It wasn't rain, but the wind, that caused this increase. Changes in barometric pressure may also be an asthma trigger.
If you suspect weather is playing a role in your child's asthma, keep a diary of asthma symptoms and possible triggers and discuss them with your doctor.
Once you know what kind of weather triggers asthma symptoms, try these tips to protect your child:
Your child's written asthma action plan should list weather triggers and ways to manage them, including any seasonal increases in medication. A child whose asthma seems to be allergy-related may also need to see an allergist for medication or allergy shots.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
|National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) The NHLBI provides the public with educational resources relating to the treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases as well as sleep disorders.|
|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
|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
|Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN-MA) Through education, advocacy, community outreach, and research, AAN-MA hopes to eliminate suffering and fatalities due to asthma and allergies. AAN-MA offers news, drug recall information, tips, and more for treating allergies and asthma. Call: (800) 878-4403|
|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.|
|What's an Asthma Flare-Up? A kid who has asthma might have an asthma attack (or flare-up). Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Can the Weather Affect a Person's Asthma? Scientific studies show that weather can affect asthma symptoms. If you think weather may be triggering your asthma, here are some tips for dealing with it.|
|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.|
|Asthma Millions of teens in the United States have asthma, a lung condition that causes difficulty breathing. Here are the basics on symptoms, triggers, and treatments.|
|Dealing With Asthma Triggers Triggers - substances, weather conditions, or activities - can lead to flare-ups in kids with asthma. By knowing and avoiding triggers, you'll help minimize your child's asthma symptoms.|
|Handling an Asthma Flare-Up Because they can be life threatening, asthma flare-ups can and should be treated at their earliest stages. So it's important to recognize their early warning signs.|
|Asthma Center Asthma means breathing problems. Find out what's going on in the lungs and how to stay healthy, if you have it.|
|Asthma Center Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.|
|Environmental Control Measures Families of kids with allergies should use environmental control measures that reduce exposure to the child's allergy triggers. Here's how to begin.|
|Do Allergies Cause Asthma? Although allergies and asthma are separate conditions, they are related. People who have allergies - particularly ones that affect the nose and eyes - are more likely to have asthma.|
|Managing Asthma Asthma control can take a little time and energy to master, but it's worth the effort. Learn more about ways to manage your child's asthma.|
|Ozone, Air Quality, and Asthma Ground-level ozone and other air pollutants can trigger worsening symptoms and asthma flare-ups. But there are steps you can take to minimize your child's exposure.|
|Asthma Center Asthma keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness. Learn how to help your child manage the condition, stay healthy, and stay in school.|
|Can the Weather Affect My Asthma? Weather can affect a person's asthma. Find out how in this article for kids.|
|Dealing With Asthma Triggers Don't pull that asthma trigger! If you have asthma, certain things may cause you to cough and have trouble breathing. Find out more about asthma triggers in this article for kids.|
|Asthma Asthma can cause a person's airways to get swollen and irritated, making it hard to breathe. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Your House: How to Make It Asthma-Safe If you have asthma, you want to breathe easy at home. Find out how in this article for kids.|
|Allergy Shots Many kids battle allergies year-round, and some can't control their symptoms with medications. For them, allergy shots (or allergen immunotherapy) can be beneficial.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.