Can the Weather Affect My Child's Asthma?
Yes. Weather conditions can bring on asthma symptoms. Some kids' asthma symptoms get worse at certain times of the year. For others, a severe storm or sudden weather change can trigger a flare-up.
Cold, dry air is a common asthma trigger and 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 mold growth, and wind can blow mold and pollen through the air.
If you think weather plays a role in your child's asthma, keep a diary of asthma symptoms and possible triggers and discuss them with your doctor. If pollen, mold, or other allergens make asthma symptoms worse, ask about allergy testing.
How Can We Avoid Weather Triggers?
Once you know what kind of weather triggers asthma symptoms, try these tips to protect your child:
- Watch the forecast for pollen and mold counts plus other conditions (extreme cold or heat) that might affect your child's asthma.
- Limit your child's outdoor activities on peak trigger days.
- Make sure your child wears a scarf over the mouth and nose when outside in very cold weather.
- Keep windows closed at night to keep pollen and molds out. If it's hot, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools, and dries the air.
- Keep your child indoors early in the morning (before 10 a.m.) when pollen is at its highest.
- Your child shouldn't mow the lawn or rake leaves, and should be kept away from freshly cut grass and leaf piles.
- Dry clothes in the dryer (hanging clothes or sheets to dry can allow mold or pollen to collect on them).
- Make sure your child always has quick-relief medicine (also called rescue or fast-acting medicine) on hand.
Your child's written asthma action plan should list weather triggers and ways to manage them, including any seasonal changes in medicine.