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Asthma Society warns 470,000 people in Ireland with asthma to take precautions ahead of ‘significant snowfall’

The Asthma Society of Ireland is warning people with asthma to take precautions as Met Eireann predicts ‘significant snowfall’ this week.

Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “Cold weather is a serious trigger for many people with asthma. During cold spells, people need to be particularly careful and proactive in managing their asthma to avoid having an asthma attack, which for some people, can be fatal. 470,000 people in Ireland have asthma and one of these people tragically dies every week.”

Top Tips for Managing your Asthma in the Cold Weather:

  • Take your prescribed controller medication daily and have your reliever inhaler with you at all times.
  • It is important to use a reliever inhaler before going out in frosty, damp conditions.
  • On cold windy days wear a scarf over your nose and mouth – this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
  • Take extra care when exercising in cold weather- warm up for 10-15 minutes. Take two puffs of your reliever inhaler before you start. Exercise indoors if possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly.Try to avoid coming into contact with harmful bacteria by washing hands, or using hand sanitiser, regularly.
  • Check the weather forecast.Try to avoid trips outside during particularly cold, wet, and windy weather, which might make breathing more difficult.
  • Call the Asthma Society’s free Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 if you have any questions about managing your asthma.
  • Colds and flus are also very prominent at this time of the year and are also a trigger for asthma. Try to avoid contracting the flu virus by:
  • Getting the flu vaccine.
  • Getting plenty of sleep and eat healthy – this can help boost your immunity and decrease the risks of contracting a flu.
  • If you suspect someone has a cold or the flu, keep your distance where possible.
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing using a tissue – this tissue should be binned afterwards.
  • Try to get into the habit of not touching your face as this is often how the flu is spread.
  • Regularly clean hard surfaces such as your phone, keyboard and door handles.

If you catch the flu, you should:

  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor straight away.
  • Remember to use your preventative inhaler everyday, which will help control. inflammation in your lungs – this will make you less likely to have an asthma attack.
  • Improve your inhaler technique to get the best benefit from your medication – watch our Inhaler Technique videos on asthma.ie for best practice.
  • Always carry your reliever inhaler with you wherever you go.
  • Rest as much as possible – the flu can be extremely tiring and you will need all your energy to fight it.
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water.
  • Stay home from work/school when you experience flu symptoms, to rest and also to avoid spreading the virus.

If you have an questions about managing your asthma during the cold weather, the Asthma Society runs an Asthma and COPD Adviceline which users can call for free on 1800 44 54 64 to speak a respiratory specialist nurse.

These tips should also be followed by people with COPD in Ireland as COPD symptoms can also be triggered by the cold weather.  More than 380,000 people in Ireland have COPD but only 110,000 are diagnosed with the illness.  If you have any questions about managing your COPD, the number to call is: 1800 83 21 46.

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