Five tips for Laois people living with asthma/COPD this winter

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Five tips for Tipperary people managing asthma/COPD this winter

WhatsApp message the Asthma Society on 086 059 0132 for answers to your asthma/COPD questions

Many people with asthma and COPD experience more severe and more frequent respiratory symptoms during the winter months.

The 380,000 people with asthma in Ireland and the further 380,000 with COPD find that triggers such as cold air, air pollution and viral infections cause them more problems at this time of year. 

With this in mind, The Asthma Society has launched its Winter Wellness Guide on asthma.ie.  It provides detailed information on steps people with asthma and COPD can follow to manage their condition better and to reduce their risk of suffering respiratory exacerbations. The Asthma Society’s Winter Wellness Guide is kindly supported by MSD.

The Asthma Society’s Winter Wellness Guide suggests the following five tips for people with Asthma and COPD to follow during the colder months:

  • Put an Asthma Action Plan/COPD Management Plan in place.
  • Get vaccinated against flu and pneumo.
  • Follow the HSE’s advice on preventing the spread of Covid-19.
  • Take your asthma/COPD medication as prescribed and carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times.
  • Remember, cold air can trigger your asthma/COPD, so take precautions to reduce the risk of it triggering an asthma attack/COPD exacerbation.

Emily Blennerhasset, interim CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “We often hear from users of our HSE-funded Asthma and COPD Adviceline and our Slaintecare-funded Asthma and COPD WhatsApp messaging service that they experience a flare-up of their symptoms during the winter months. Many with respiratory conditions can experience a poorer quality of life in the winter months for this reason.

"Our Winter Wellness Guide includes advice from the HSE, input from our Medical Advisory Group, and hints and tips from both our asthma and COPD nurses as well as from patients on keeping well during cold weather. It is available on asthma.ie and I am calling on all people with asthma and COPD to visit this page.”

People who have questions about managing their asthma/COPD during the winter months are encouraged to freephone the Asthma Society’s HSE-funded Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 or to send a WhatsApp message to their Slaintecare-funded Asthma and COPD WhatsApp service on 086 059 0132. Both services are free and allow users to communicate directly with an asthma/COPD nurse specialist.

Ruth Morrow, a respiratory nurse specialist on the Asthma Society’s Asthma and COPD WhatsApp service, said: “Every winter, I receive questions from people with asthma and COPD about what precautions they can take during the colder months.  In particular they ask what they can do to stop cold air triggering their condition. One piece of practical advice I always give is to cover your mouth with a snood or scarf on colder days. This heats the air before it enters your lungs, making it easier to breathe. Another tip I always give is to exercise indoors during bouts of cold weather if at all possible.

"Anyone who would like more information about managing their asthma/COPD during the colder months should go to asthma.ie to access our Winter Wellness Guide or they can send me a message through the Asthma Society’s Asthma and COPD WhatsApp messaging service on 086-0590132, and I will get back to them as soon as possible.”

The Asthma Society is hosting an Asthma Self-Management Masterclass on Thursday, November 12 at 5.30 pm. Featuring medical director of the Asthma Society and respiratory consultant Dr Marcus Butler and respiratory nurse specialist Ruth Morrow, the masterclass aims to educate people with asthma, their carers and healthcare professionals on how to stay well this winter. The free event will take place on Zoom, and registration can be completed online