Keep your respiratory condition under wraps

Those with respiratory conditions are one of the most affected groups in the colder months, and lead to people needing to seek additional support from healthcare during winter. However, there is lots of simple ways people can support themselves and reduce their symptoms as well as staying healthy over this period.

Here are some tips and hints to support you over this winter.

Keeping Warm and Staying Active

Lung conditions can be sensitive to the effects of cold weather. You might become more short of breath and cough more as a result. Its important to be aware of this and make some small changes to prevent these symptoms worsening.

  • If out and about
    • Using a scarf around the nose/ mouth can warm up the air which prevents the cold air irritating your airways, triggering coughing or even triggering an asthma attack
    • Wear layers of clothes to keep warm
    • If its icy think about places you can exercise indoors such as supermarkets or shopping centres.
    • Use your inhaler medication (bronchodilators) half an hour before leaving the house, especially if the cold weather usually makes you wheezy or breathless. Make sure you carry your medication with you at all times.
  • At home
    • Ideal room temperature is around 21 degrees in the living room and 18 in the bedroom.
    • During really cold weather, wear warmer night clothes. This is again something too many people don’t do, forgetting that their body temperature drops as they sleep.
    • Staying active and doing some exercise can be extremely helpful, by keeping the blood circulating and the body warm. Appropriate exercise is generally good for strengthening lung health at any time of year – if you have a lung condition, your doctor will be able to advise you of a suitable level of exercise for you.

Staying warm has become an increasing concern all over the UK with the cost of living being at an all-time high. There is support available, don’t suffer in silence

  • Derbyshire County Councils have given grants to communities to support ‘warm spaces’ with the aim to provide a warm refuge for residents and their families struggling to heat their homes. See if there is a venue near you.
  • Community Action Derby also provide support and information for a range of cost-of-living related issues people may face over the next few months.

Keeping Healthy and Staying Healthy

  • Take advantage of the vaccinations you are entitled to, it’s never too late, so book now if you haven’t already.
    • Flu
    • Covid
    • Pneumococcal
    • Shingles (over 70’s)
  • Avoid people with coughs, colds or Covid-19. If possible, it would be sensible to wear masks in crowded and enclosed spaces.
  • Hands, face, space! This is a great rule to apply during winter, make sure you wash your hands well to avoid all those winter bugs.
  • If you have a respiratory condition and smoke, you can help yourself by stopping smoking. People who smoke are five times more likely to get flu and twice as likely to get pneumonia. Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to prevent developing viral infections. There is plenty of help and support available in Derby and Derbyshire.
  • If you have a respiratory condition, you will have developed a personalised respiratory action plan with your health care provider, sometime called a RAP. This is a useful document and will tell you what to do if your condition worsens. Your RAP should be updated every year during your annual condition review.
  • Attend your annual condition review to discuss your condition with a healthcare professional.
  • Use your medication as prescribed – It’s important to understand how to use the medications as this will help control respiratory conditions. The pharmacy is a great place to get support and advice over the winter. A pharmacist can provide lots of additional services such as a review of new medication prescribed (NMS Service). To find out more about what pharmacy services are available visit or visit your local pharmacy.
  • Make sure you have enough of your regular medicines at home. If you have ‘rescue packs’ make sure you have these in stock, and they are in date.