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Spring is in the air and the change in the weather is a nice relief from the long winter. However, for children who have asthma, especially if they are physically active, it can be a challenging time of year. Fluctuations in the weather at this time of year can trigger an asthma attack. Being aware of this fact can help minimize the impact.

According to the Asthma Society of Canada, nearly 3 million Canadians live with asthma. There are many different triggers that can bring on your asthma which differ from person to person. Some common triggers are:

Knowing what triggers your asthma is a good way to avoid and minimize the possibility of an attack.

As the weather conditions change an asthma attack can be triggered by:

  1. Cold air – If cold air is one of your triggers try breathing through your nose. Your nose is designed to warm and humidify air. Wear a scarf covering your mouth and nose and avoid exercising in extremely cold weather.
  2. Wind and rain – Wet weather encourages the growth of mold. The wind blows mold and pollen through the air. Limit your outdoor exposure.
  3. Heat and humidity – Hot days increase the ozone from smog, exhaust fumes and pollutants, that can trigger asthma attack. Humidity, which creates a lot of moisture in the air, can also trigger an attack. On such days stay inside where there is an air-conditioner and good quality air.

Though you cannot control the weather, understanding what weather triggers may cause your asthma can help you lessen the possibility of an attack. Monitoring the weather forecast and signing up for weather updates can help you manage and stay on top of the circumstances which may pre-empt an attack.

References Available from the SIRC Collection:

1. Butcher J. Exercise-induced Asthma in the Competitive Cold Weather Athlete. Current Sports Medicine Reports (American College Of Sports Medicine). December 2006;5(6):284-288.
2. Carey B, Chen I. Tomorrow’s weather: Thunder and asthma. Health (Time Inc. Health). July 1996;10(4):23.
3. Carlsen K, Hem E, Stensrud T. Asthma in adolescent athletes. British Journal Of Sports Medicine. December 15, 2011;45(16):1266-1271.
4. Laitano O, Martins J, Mattiello R, Perrone C, Fischer G, Meyer F. Sweat Electrolyte Loss in Asthmatic Children During Exercise in the Heat. Pediatric Exercise Science. May 2008;20(2):121-128.
5. McGrew C. NCAA Football and Conditioning Drills. Current Sports Medicine Reports (American College Of Sports Medicine). July 2010;9(4):185-186.

6. Ueda K, Nitta H, Odajima H. The effects of weather, air pollutants, and Asian dust on hospitalization for asthma in Fukuoka. Environmental Health & Preventive Medicine. November 2010;15(6):350-357.

The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.