A frozen screen with ice crystals forming on both the left and right, and meeting in the middle.


People with Asthma should be especially careful in the winter as cold air is a major trigger of Asthma symptoms. A sudden change in temperature or poor air quality can also be a trigger.


Asthma symptoms include:

  • feeling breathless (you may gasp for breath)
  • a tight chest, like a band tightening around it 
  • wheezing, making a whistling sound when you breathe
  • coughing, particularly at night and early morning
  • attacks triggered by exercise, exposure to allergens and other triggers

For more information please visit NHS Choices Asthma

What precautions can I take?

With the onset of very cold weather, it's a good idea to make sure you, and your friends and family know what to do if you have an asthma attack; Asthma UK has some useful advice on their web page What to do in an Asthma attack. The charity also offers these top tips to help you control your asthma symptoms during the cold weather:

  • Keep taking your regular preventer medicines as prescribed by your doctor
  • If you know that cold air triggers your asthma, take one or two puffs of your reliever inhaler before going outside
  • Keep your blue reliever inhaler with you at all times
  • Wrap up well and wear a scarf over your nose and mouth - this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in
  • Take extra care when exercising in cold weather. Warm up for 10-15 minutes and take one or two puffs of your reliever inhaler before you start

How can the Met Office help?

Check our weather forecasts regularly to stay one step ahead of the weather and look out for our Cold Weather AlertTwitter feed and via weather forecasts on the TV and radio. Our Cold Weather alerts inform you when cold weather, snow or ice has been forecast to enable you to take the necessary precautions to stay safe and well.