Caroline Fredericks is Asthma UK’s Respiratory Nurse Specialist Co-Lead and talks to us about why we should all be taking care of ourselves this winter, especially if you have asthma.  

This year’s been so different to any other. You’ve probably seen less of family and friends than you usually would, and may have stayed indoors more, even in the summer. If you’ve been shielding at any point this year, especially if you’ve been doing so since the pandemic began, 2020 would have looked even more different for you.

Taking care of your mental wellbeing

As we head into winter and on to a new year, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself.  Your mental wellbeing is extremely important and you might feel like yours had taken a bit of a knock because of the pandemic.

Try as best you can to stay in touch with friends and family, as this will help boost your mood. Give your loved ones a call or send them a text. You could even speak to them online or write them a Christmas card. It’s worth reaching out, as this year has been a difficult time for everyone and it’s important that we stay connected.

Managing your asthma

Winter can be an especially tricky time of year too if you have asthma. There are loads of things that can trigger your symptoms, including the cold weather, colds and flu, and even central heating. That’s why it’s so important to manage your condition, which you can do by:

·       taking your preventer inhaler every day, as prescribed

·       carrying your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you, in case your symptoms start up

·       using your asthma action plan – or getting an action plan if you don’t have one already

·       booking yourself an asthma review.

Tips for a remote GP appointment

If your GP surgery can’t offer you a face to face appointment, or you’re worried about going to your doctor, they may offer you a video appointment. You might not have had one before, but they’re a great way to keep up your care over winter. Dr Andy Whittamore has tips on how to make the most of your phone or video appointment, which you might find helpful.

And remember, if you feel like your symptoms are getting worse or you’re experiencing new symptoms, call 111. If you’re having an asthma attack, you need to call 999 straight away – please don’t wait.