Monday, December 18, 2017 – The Winter Solstice arrives this Thursday, December 21st, at 11:28AM EST.  Winter is not usually known for traditional exposures that often impact asthma like high pollen presence.  However, in certain parts of the country, specific trees are pollen producing during the winter months.

Mountain cedar, found predominantly in Southwest US, notably south and central Texas, pollinates between December and March, and is the source of allergies for many.  If you experience spring allergies for tree species including cedar, juniper, and cypress, you may find you are allergic to mountain cedar during the winter.

Another source of risk could be your Christmas tree.  Pine trees are common at Christmas and if one is experiencing allergy symptoms once you’ve set up your pine Christmas tree, you may have a pine allergy.  In this case, a fir or spruce Christmas tree may be an alternative.  Finally, Christmas trees that have been exposed to rain and damp weather may have grown mold.  You may be exposed to mold and symptoms may result because you are allergic to mold.

A common theme you can see here is that if you do not know what you are allergic to, you are exposing yourself to risk at a time of the year when you aren’t expecting to experience an issue.  This is why the 40% rate of allergy testing among those allergic is so threatening to a population that is so vulnerable to negative health outcomes of not being prepared for allergic exposures you may experience in the winter.

Winter presents other hazards as well for some asthma patients.  Extreme cold, often accompanied by dry air, or a rapid transition from warmer temperature to cold, can be a trigger for asthma.  You may have experienced the sensation of having to catch your breath, because cold and dry air ‘grabs’ your throat.  For an asthma patient, this represents a greater risk because that ‘grab’ is a constriction of the airway that can rapidly lead to breathing difficulty.

So, risks remain for many asthma patients throughout the year, whether its allergy issues of the season, or just plain winter weather, you need to be prepared.  You need DailyBreath to know your risks every day.

Authored by Eric Klos, CEO, HEALTHeWeather, and innovator of DailyBreath, a ‘Waze-like’ service for Asthma, helping others avoid asthma attacks.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, or are a caregiver of one who does, please download DailyBreath from the Apple iTunes App store. If you are an Android user, sign up here to receive the Android version when it becomes available in the future.