Asthmahub – Preparing for Winter – Event Recording
NHS Wales held an event to provide support and guidance about preparing for Winter with Asthma
Watch the event recording now…
We had a very busy Q&A session, and did not have the opportunity to answer all the submitted questions. Here are the answers to some great questions we wanted to make available…
Question: “I have nocturnal asthma which gets worse in autumn/winter. What advice would you give to help relieve the symptoms?”
- “• If you are answering YES to any of the following questions, despite taking your preventer inhaler consistently and with good technique, then your asthma control has room for improvement:
- Have you had difficulty sleeping because of your asthma symptoms (including cough)?
- Have you had your usual asthma symptoms during the day (e.g. cough, wheeze, chest tightness, or breathlessness)?
- Has your asthma interfered with your usual activities (e.g. housework, work, school)?
- With good asthma control, you should be answering NO to all three of these questions, at all times of the day and year. If not, you should speak to your GP, Asthma nurse or pharmacist for a review of your medication because they might be able to find an option that works better for you.”
- “It depends what is causing the chest infection – lots of chest infections are caused by viruses, especially at this time of year. Antibiotics are only effective at treating bacterial infections, and could do more harm than good if they are used to treat viral infections. Speak to your GP if you think you have a chest infection, and they will consider if antibiotics are the best course of action. Of course, it’s best to try and avoid chest infections in the first place, and the event recording above provides lots of advice about avoiding infections and flare ups.“
- “This is a very interesting question and can only be answered properly with the help of a spirometry test at your surgery or hospital.
- The difference between asthma and COPD is down to the nature of the narrowing of the airways; in Asthma, there is narrowing of the airways, but this is mostly resolved with an inhaler. Asthma is described as variable airway obstruction because it comes and goes with different triggers.
- In contrast, COPD is a more permanent narrowing of the airways, often caused by long-term exposure to inhaled irritants such as cigarette smoke. Inhalers only have a limited effect and the person with COPD continues to experience symptoms. COPD is described as a fixed airway obstruction.
- There are people who have both asthma and COPD.”
- “Yes, this is a good idea, and something we could look at for a future event.“
- “The best thing to do is make sure you take your preventer inhaler regularly, as prescribed. This is the best way to prevent asthma symptoms during exercise, but you should always carry your reliever inhaler with you just in case your symptoms flare up. If you are consistent with your preventer inhaler, and you are taking the inhaler with good technique, but you are still struggling with symptoms during exercise, this might be a sign that you need your inhalers reviewed by your asthma nurse or pharmacist.“
- “Mucus production in the nose could suggest that you might have allergic rhinitis or chronic nasal congestion which can co-exist with asthma. Speak to your GP who might be able to offer you a steroid containing nasal spray which can help these symptoms. The same for the feeling of mucus down the back of the throat – this may be related to post-nasal drip and a steroid nasal spray may help.
- Mucus on the lungs may suggest you have poorly controlled asthma and may need to change your asthma treatments to get it better under control. However, it could also be a sign that you have another condition, such as COPD or chronic bronchitis if a smoker or ex smoker, or bronchiectasis. Speak to your GP who might be able to organise some other tests to rule out another condition.“
- “There are some breathing control exercises that you can do to help, and there are some videos on the app about these, but the best way to strengthen the lungs and the breathing muscles is by doing aerobic exercise (i.e. any exercise that makes you feel breathless).“
- “Continual phlegm (or mucus) in the back of the throat could be a sign of allergic rhinitis or chronic nasal congestion which can co-exist with asthma. Speak to your GP who might be able to offer you a steroid containing nasal spray which can help these symptoms. The same for the feeling of mucus down the back of the throat – this may be related to post-nasal drip and a steroid nasal spray may help.“
- “Stress, anxiety and depression can all negatively impact your asthma control, and there are videos on the app about this. However, antidepressants don’t treat asthma or prevent it from developing.“
- “Dehumidifiers can help to prevent damp and condensation in the home. This can help prevent the growth of mould. House dust mites also thrive in humid environments. Exposure to both mould and dust can be triggers for some individuals with asthma. The use of humidifiers can however make the air too dry and increase symptoms of cough. There is little good evidence to support the use of dehumidifiers as a treatment for asthma but there is also no evidence of harm.“