Weather and Asthma

Different weather patterns, like cold air, hot air, and extreme weather conditions, can worsen asthma symptoms or bring on asthma attacks in some people. You can be proactive about controlling your asthma by being aware of how the weather affects your condition.

Cold Air

Cold air is one of the weather conditions that is known to affect asthma. The reason this happens is simple: cold air is dry. That means that there’s little humidity or moisture in the air. As a result, the cold irritates, dries out, and tightens your airways. You notice a change in your breathing. 

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing 
  • Production of thick mucus

Be Proactive

If you have asthma and live in an area with colder climates and temperatures or one that experiences harsh winters, you want to be proactive about minimizing your risks.

  • Limit time outdoors when temperatures are colder
  • Wear things that protect against elements of the cold such as a scarf around your nose and mouth 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Use a humidity monitor and keep indoor humidity levels between 30-50%

Hot or Humid Air

Unlike cold air, which is dry, hot or humid air is not dry. Humid air holds water vapors 1, which makes the air moist. But, this does not mean that humid air is better for your asthma. Humid air is also twice 2 as likely to make your airways constrict or tighten that cold or cool air. It is also a known cause of other asthma symptoms, like exercise-induced asthma.

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

You can have asthma and still enjoy time out in the warm weather while controlling your asthma symptoms.

  • Stay hydrated 
  • Use your inhalers as needed
  • Limit your time outdoors when the temperature or humidity level is high
  • Monitor your indoor humidity levels


Unless you or someone you know has experienced it first hand, you may not be familiar with thunderstorm asthma. Thunderstorm asthma is a rare health phenomenon. Thunderstorm asthma happens when there is the right amount of airborne allergens, along with certain weather conditions and your sensitivity to the allergens. Thunderstorms can trigger asthma symptoms so severe in people that they need to be hospitalized or admitted to the emergency department. 

  • Sudden coughing
  • Wheezing 
  • Breathlessness

Manage Your Risks

  • Use your medications as prescribed
  • Stay indoors when there’s inclement weather
  • Use a protective face cover, such as a mask, if you have to go outdoors
  • Pay attention to local public health warnings to prevent potential asthma attacks