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Can the Weather Affect My Asthma?

Can the weather make a person's asthma symptoms worse? Yes! Let's find out how.

How Can Weather Affect Asthma?

A change of seasons, a storm, or a sudden change in weather can make it harder to breathe or cause a flare-up.

Here's how weather can make asthma symptoms worse:

  • Cold, dry air can be an asthma trigger, especially for people who play winter sports and who have asthma symptoms when they exercise.
  • Hot, humid air can trigger asthma symptoms. In some areas, heat and sunlight combine with pollution to make ozone (say: OH-zone), which is also an asthma trigger.
  • Wet or windy weather can cause flare-ups. Many people with asthma have symptoms during thunderstorms.

Your health care provider can help you figure out if weather is making your asthma symptoms worse. This information can go into your asthma action plan.

How Can I Avoid Weather Triggers?

Once you know what your weather triggers are, it's important to avoid them:

  • Watch the forecast for pollen and mold counts, and for weather that might affect your asthma. (An adult can help you do this.)
  • Stay indoors early in the morning (before 10 a.m.) when pollen levels in the air are at their highest.
  • Stay indoors on days when your triggers are strongest.
  • Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose outside during very cold weather.
  • Keep your windows closed at night. If it's hot, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools, and dries the air.
  • Stay away from freshly cut grass and leaf piles.
  • Keep your quick-relief medicine (also called rescue or fast-acting medicine) with you all the time — even when you're feeling fine!

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: 09-05-2017

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