AS TEMPERATURES prepare to plummet, people with asthma are being encouraged to take part in a campaign to help with their condition.
Charity Asthma UK has this week launched its #Scarfie campaign to get people with life-threatening asthma to wear a scarf over their nose and mouth —and share a picture on social media.
The campaign is being backed by Portsmouth GP Dr Andy Whittamore, who is part of the Portsdown Group practice and is clinical lead for the charity.
Three-quarters of people with asthma say that breathing in cold winter air makes their symptoms worse but wearing a scarf over their mouth and nose warms up the air before they breathe it in.
Debbi Wood, from Portsmouth, has ended up in A&E because of cold weather triggering an asthma attack.
The 58-year-old said: ‘I’ve had asthma for nearly 30 years but you never get used to the feeling of having an asthma attack.
I’ve had asthma for nearly 30 years but you never get used to the feeling of having an asthma attack.Debbi Wood
‘It’s terrifying and is like breathing through a tiny straw.
‘Cold air has been such a problem for me, and even walking the distance between my house and my car in the early mornings would trigger asthma attacks so bad I would have to go to hospital.’
The mum-of-two has taken part in the campaign and said it has made a huge difference.
‘Thankfully, I saw #Scarfie on social media a couple of years ago and now I have far fewer problems with my asthma in the cold weather,’ she added.
‘Wrapping a scarf around my nose and mouth is a simple action but for people with asthma like me it can make a huge difference in winter.’
Asthma UK’s #Scarfie campaign has been running for three years and this year is being supported by celebrities Stephen Fry, Nadiya Hussain and Dr Ranj Singh.
They will be tweeting their #Scarfie this winter– a selfie with a scarf covering their nose and mouth – to encourage people with asthma to share the advice as the temperature drops.
Dr Andy said: ‘Lots of people aren’t keen on the nights drawing in and weather getting colder, but for many people with asthma, just going outside on a cold day can be life-threatening.
‘Living in the UK means cold weather is impossible to avoid over winter, so people with asthma should make sure they check weather forecasts for their area, and carry their reliever inhaler with them at all times.
‘But the easiest way for people with asthma to protect themselves from asthma symptoms in the cold weather is to simply wrap a scarf around their nose and mouth to warm up the air before they breathe it in.’
Asthma UK provides a nurse-staffed helpline for people with asthma and advice on its website at asthma.org.uk.