Skip to main content

Does the freeze make you wheeze?

Winter asthma tips

Cold winter air can irritate anyone’s lungs. But, if you have a lung condition such as asthma, the winter air may affect you even more. Cold air can cause the airways in your lungs to tighten up, making it more difficult to breathe.
Keeping your asthma under control can help to reduce your risks and help you stay active this winter. Exercise has many benefits for your lungs, your general health and for your mood.

Stay active this winter

Tips to help you stay active in cold air:
• Wear a scarf or cold-weather mask around your mouth and nose – this can help to warm up the air you breathe in.
• Some people may need to use their “reliever” inhaler (usually a blue inhaler) before going out in the cold air.
• Warm up before your activity – start off slowly then work your way up to a more intense level.
• Cool down after your activity – slowly decrease the intensity of your exercise.

Do not start any physical activity if you have symptoms. If you have problems breathing or develop other asthma symptoms during exercise, stop and take your reliever inhaler. If possible go inside to a warm place. Only start your activity again if your symptoms are gone.

If you find it hard to be active in cold air, see your healthcare provider to ensure your asthma is under good control. You can also find indoor physical activity programs and sports in your community. The goal is to be active most days of the week.

Keep your asthma under control

Take these steps to help keep your asthma under control:
• Take your asthma medications as prescribed. If you have any questions about your treatment plan, see your healthcare provider.
• Learn how to use your inhalers properly. You can find more information here: Have your inhaler technique checked whenever you visit your healthcare provider.
• Identify and avoid your asthma triggers
• Follow the written asthma action plan from your healthcare provider to help guide you in managing your asthma. If you don’t have an asthma action plan, ask for one.

Don’t let the cold air stop you from being active this winter season. For more tips to keep your breathing under control, call the Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or email