Alaska and Asthma
I plan to move to Alaska, will my asthma get worse?
- Pauine: We live in California and I have asthma [aggravated by] some flowers, pollution, skunks and really cold wind. We want to move to Alaska in a year. Will I be OK in Alaska winters (they don’t get much wind) as long as I take my Azmacort & Serevent regularly? Does asthma get progressively worse as one gets older? I am 58 years old.
- Dr. Kraemer: It sounds like you have a problem with some kinds of irritant odors and with very cold air. These will trigger symptoms of cough and wheezing and chest tightness if you have an underlying “bronchial hyper-reactivity.” This effect is markedly enhanced if you have to breathe directly through your mouth. It may seem like it is the wind that is the problem, but rather it is the dryness and coldness of the air that triggers the reaction. This will be true in any state you choose to live. If you consider moving to Alaska, the brittle cold air in the winter can be a problem. You can minimize this by continuing your long-term medications. They will reduce your bronchial hyper-reactivity. Then get a good scarf, or breathe through a mask, if you need to be outdoors for extended periods of time in the winter.
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