How thousands of asthma sufferers can avoid spending Christmas in a hospital bed

But that's the reality for thousands of Brits each year as their symptoms get worse in the cold weather, Asthma UK has warned.

On average some 26,000 asthma sufferers end up in hospital every winter and 45 per cent of all deaths from the condition happen when the weather is colder.

Last year 650 people died after suffering an asthma attack brought on by cold weather.

The drop in temperature; bugs like colds and flu; and even dust from central heating can make winter a deadly time for asthma sufferers, the charity said.

Last December she was hospitalised with an asthma attack after a picking up a virus.

"I‘d been for a Christmas dinner with friends but when I got home I felt my chest tighten like it was a vice and I started gasping for breath," she recalled.

"I managed to get myself to hospital, where doctors told me I was having a life-threatening asthma attack.

"I had to breathe through a mask and stay in hospital for six days.

"When it’s winter you accept you might get a cold or a virus but I never expected it to trigger something more deadly like an asthma attack.


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"Looking back, I realised I had the warning signs that an asthma attack was imminent as I was using my reliever inhaler almost every day.

"I want to encourage other people with asthma to get advice on winter triggers from Asthma UK – it might just save your life."

What can you do to protect yourself this winter?

Asthma UK stressed that it's vital you have an asthma action plan in place.

This should detail you medication and any other treatments for your asthma – if you don't have one you should speak to your GP.

If your asthma symptoms are getting so severe you are using your blue reliever inhaler three or more times a week you should visit your doctor urgently.

Here's Asthma UK's top tips to avoid a nasty asthma attack:

  • Take your preventer inhaler (usually brown) as prescribed. This builds up protection over time and means you’re less likely to have an asthma attack if you come into contact with a trigger.
  • Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) at all times
  • Know your winter triggers – for more information visit asthma.org.uk/wintertriggers
  • Watch out for danger signs that your asthma is getting worse such as needing to use your blue reliever inhaler three or more times each week
  • Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth and nose to warm up the air as cold air is a top asthma attack trigger


 

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