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Winter Brings Extra Risk Of Asthma Attacks

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An asthma inhaler.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 100 and 150 million people around the world have asthma, a reactive airway disease that can be set off by certain allergens and triggers.

One of those triggers is the cold winter air.

Credit wichita.kumc.edu
Dr. Sid Sivamurthy is an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the KU School of Medicine-Wichita and sees patients at KU Wichita General Pediatrics. He also runs an asthma specialty clinic at the same location.

Dr. Sid Sivamurthy with the KU School of Medicine Wichita says that lingering respiratory infections are also a common reason for winter asthma attacks.

"They probably already have quite a lot of inflammation in their lungs and they're pretty close to the edge," he says. "And often times the respiratory infection is that one last trigger that pushes them over the edge."

He recommends that people with asthma keep out of the cold and says, if you have to go outdoors, cover your face with a scarf.

Dr. Sivamurthy also says it's important to address other asthma triggers around the home, including dust mites, cleaning chemicals, pets, smoking and mold.

Another line of defense, he says, is a flu vaccine.


Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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