Knowing how to manage common cold and flu symptoms will help you embrace the chilly weather and all things festive this winter.
Let’s face it, you either love or hate winter. For all the winter fanatics, the season is the perfect time of year for activities like skiing, skating, building a snowman and even getting cozy in front of the fire with a warm cup of hot chocolate. But for others, the negative aspects of winter outweigh the positive.
Whether you love or hate it, the winter air quality is important for your health because cooler temperatures can actually put your health at risk in a number of ways, even in people with no serious lung problems. If you aren’t fully prepared to tackle the harsh weather, you’re likely to experience discomfort and pain every time you step outside.
Cold weather makes breathing a lot more difficult. Aside from winter being cold and flu season, cold air can have a negative impact on your breathing, whether you have underlying health issues like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or not. That’s because our airways naturally become narrower when we breathe in cooler, dryer air. The moisture in our throats evaporates as the air hits, triggering symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.
Lung health and viruses
Now more than ever, we realize how essential it is to invest in our lung health. Doctors have discovered that smokers and people with poor lung health who have contracted COVID-19 are at higher risk for more severe symptoms and even death. As a result, face masks have become necessary disease-prevention accessories that help put a stop to droplets being transmitted from person to person, diminishing the spread.
Long-term exposure to unclean air can cause other lung illnesses and complications, too. Being mindful of the air we breathe will help us live longer, more satisfying lives.
Fighting breathing problems this winter
People who experience shallow breathing whenever the temperature drops can take several precautions to protect themselves from these frustrating symptoms this season. Learn to fight winter breathing problems with these helpful tips.
Try breathing in from your nose
Seems simple enough, but people don’t always consciously practice this breathing exercise. The correct way to get oxygen into your lungs is through the nose. Your nostrils act as filters that humidify the cold air on its way to your lungs, lessening its impact.
In fact, the American Lung Association stresses the importance of breathing through the nose in very dry or cold environments to decrease symptoms. Additionally, your respiratory system will thank you for taking fuller breaths through the nose to help distribute more air throughout the body, making you feel more energized.
RELATED: How to Breathe More Effectively
Get an air purifier for your home
Naturally, people will spend more time indoors during the colder months. Although we may be escaping the cooler temperatures outside, our homes harbor irritating allergens including dust, that can cause itchiness, watery eyes, stuffy nose and difficulty breathing. Air purifiers help eliminate airborne particles with a sophisticated filtration technology that helps people breathe in cleaner air. Companies like IQAir offer their customers quality air purifiers that deliver the purest indoor air possible using 320 degree airflow designs. Advancements in technology are important for helping distribute better air in our homes to ensure healthier living environments for all.
Moisturize your nose so you can avoid breathing from your mouth
There are plenty of nasal sprays and gels available at the drug store for sinus congestion relief. More exposure to dust and allergens from inside the home leads to a stuffier nose in the wintertime. To relieve the congestion, you’ll want to apply a small amount of gel or spray to the nostril area to eliminate mucus build-up.
Wear the right gear when exercising outdoors
Many people experience shortness of breath when exercising outside in the cold weather. Cold air is dry and when it enters our bodies, it can dehydrate the layer of moisture we have in our throats. Wearing protective gear over the mouth warms up the air that we take in, helping alleviate breathing issues during strenuous activity.
Avoid smoking and smokers
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is directly responsible for roughly 90% of lung cancer and COPD deaths across the United States. Inhaling toxic fumes from cigarette smoke expedites poor lung health and serious respiratory problems in due course.