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Cold and Flu Center

Asthma Symptoms in Cold Air

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Asthma Symptoms in Cold Air
Asthma symptoms from cold air will appear during or shorly after exposure to cold air.

According to, cold air is a common trigger for an asthma attack. Cold air causes the lungs to constrict, which doesn’t affect most of the American population. The lungs of people who are predisposed to asthma will react with severe inflammation and swelling. Asthma symptoms in cold air are manageable by pre-planning, according to the Asthma Society of Canada. Someone with asthma induced by cold air should take medications before exposure to cold air, wear a scarf around the nose and mouth and, when possible, avoid cold air.

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Common Symptom

According to MSN News, breathing trouble is a common symptom of asthma from cold air. Chest tightness and the inability to take a deep breath will develop when exposed to cooler temperatures. The lungs constrict and swell, reducing the amount of air the person can breathe in. The airways can spasm and begin over-producing mucus, which leads to chest congestion.

Effects on Chest

The chest will become congested with excessive mucus, leading to a consistent cough, according to Chest congestion will feel like there is build-up in the chest. When someone takes a deep breath, wheezing will result. Wheezing is the sound made by swollen or restricted airways. The wheezing will develop when the individual is exposed to cold air and can come and go without explanation. An expectorant may be taken to help loosen the phlegm in the chest.

Coughing Symptoms

MSN News states that during exposure or directly after exposure to cold air, coughing will develop. The cough may be wet or dry and can continue for weeks, according to A doctor may recommend taking cough suppressants to alleviate the cough. An individual who begins to cough and cannot catch her breath should seek immediate medical attention. In rare cases, a severe asthma attack from cold air can lead to a life-threatening emergency.

Sleep Considerations

After exposure to cold air, asthma can persist for hours or days, leading to difficulty sleeping, according to A doctor may prescribe an inhaler to treat the breathing symptoms and help the person sleep better. MSN News recommends running a warm-mist humidifier in the bedroom at night to increase moisture and warmth in the room. Keep the lungs warm and moist to reduce cold-induced asthma symptoms.


Talk to a doctor before using any treatment for asthma. Asthma induced by cold air may require relocating to a part of the country that is warmer year-round. If asthma symptoms worsen or cause someone to appear pale, call 911.

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