Asthma Management During a Snowpocalypse

The recent snow had many people stranded on interstates, walking in the cold, or seeking shelter in unfamiliar places. This can lead to asthma flares, and can be especially dangerous if you’re caught without your asthma medication. Here are some tips to help you make it through these types of situations should they happen in the future:

1. Always try to keep at least 1 day’s worth of medication in the car, just like you would keep jumper cables, bottled water, or blankets.

2. If you have your rescue inhaler, use it as needed for asthma symptoms.

3. If you happen to have your maintenance inhaler, go ahead and use it if possible. For hygiene, rinse your mouth out really well with whatever you have available. It’s better to protect your lungs than worry about thrush in these situations, and if you develop thrush it can be treated at a later time.

4. Try to breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose warms the air before it reaches your lungs, and will help keep asthma symptoms from worsening.

5. If you have a scarf or turtleneck, pull it over your mouth and nose. This will also help warm the air going to your lungs.

6. Sip warm water if possible, and avoid cold drinks. If you’re in the car, keep your water thawed using the heater when the heat is cycled on.

7. If you’re fortunate enough to make it to a home or shelter, be cautious around burning wood logs and wood-burning stoves. The smoke may trigger your asthma.

8. If you have an EpiPen or Auvi-Q with you in the car or outside of a temperature-controlled environment, be advised that you may need to replace it as soon as you are able. EpiPens should be stored at room temperature as they will become less potent or deactivated if exposed to too much heat or cold. If you need to use your EpiPen before you can replace it, you still can, but be advised that it may not be as effective. Contact emergency medical personnel as soon as possible after using your EpiPen.


*Photo from, which provided links to resources for stranded motorists and others in need of assistance during the January 29th, 2014 Snowpocalypse.

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