Most people with asthma control their symptoms with medications, however, Winter can pose extra challenges for some asthmatics. You may notice for instance that you are coughing more or you make more frequent wheezing sounds or it’s just harder to catch your breath in the colder months. In the Winter, several factors are working against you and your breathing. For instance, the cold dry air can irritate your breathing passageways, creating spasms that can narrow your breathing tubes in your lungs, making it more difficult to breathe. In the Winter, you are also likely spending more time indoors, and keep in mind that indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor air in terms of the airborne contaminants such as pet dander, fireplace debris, etc. Lastly, we all typically experience more respiratory infections in the Winter season and this can be more problematic if you have a pre-existing respiratory problem such as asthma. In this article, I will give you some tips and natural methods on how to deal with asthma that is worse in the Winter season.

Tip #1 – Dealing with cold dry winter air

To reduce the coldness of air, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth so that the air that actually enters your breathing passageways is slightly warmer. This simple tip can reduce asthmatic symptoms. An option is to wear a Winter facemask which covers the lower half of your face such as a balaclava.

Tip #2 – Dealing with indoor triggers of winter asthma

One of the most common reasons for indoor Winter asthma is dealing with mould and the excess window condensation that attracts the mould. In most cases, there is inadequate air circulation at the affected windows. Here are some tips to improve ventilation: open windows slightly; add an exhaust fan to that area; get better insulated (higher ‘R-value’) windows; use a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV).

Other indoor triggers can include smoke from the fireplace, dust and pet dander build-up and more virus exposure. All of these will become a larger factor in the Winter since you are likely spending more time at home or indoors in general. Change your furnace filters every month and consider an additional in-room air filter for the bedroom, in addition to paying more attention to cleaning your indoor space more regularly in the Winter.

Tip #3 – Natural supports for your immune system

Since Winter is the time to be vulnerable to viruses, you are more prone to getting respiratory viral illnesses such as influenza and influenza-like illnesses as well as bronchitis. Eating balanced meals is fundamental as well as ensuring regular exercise and relaxation. Other natural support supplements to consider topping up include vitamin C, vitamin D, n-acetyl cysteine, boswellia and elderberry herbs, omega-3 oil, etc.

Tip #4 – Integrative care for your asthma

As noted in tip #3, there are several supplements that may be helpful in controlling your Winter asthma, however, they must be used in conjunction with your existing medical management of your asthma. It’s important to work with your health care team to get the best results with the least adverse effects.

About the Author

Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor with over 15 years of experience in general family practice. He has a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxifying their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s health, assisting kids in their learning and behavioural health with conditions such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, asthma, allergies and childhood obesity. He also helps adults with chronic conditions, such as thyroid disorders, infertility, inflammation, obesity, autoimmunity, dementia and cancer care. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing and can be reached at 905-597-7201 or