If you have asthma, you can have breathing problems any time of the year, but you may notice additional wheezing, coughing, or asthma attacks in the winter. What happens in winter to trigger your asthma? There are two main reasons: First, there are the cold, dry days of Iowa winters. Next, we have an increase in respiratory illnesses, such as colds, influenza, and COVID-19.

On the upside, you can take several actions that may help prevent a flare-up or asthma attack. Most of these are simple, common-sense ways to manage asthma. You may also consult with Dr. Stemmerman to put together a plan to manage your asthma if you have increased symptoms or attacks in the winter.

Get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Whenever possible, you should prevent further stress on your lungs and heart by avoiding respiratory illnesses. Influenza and the COVID-19 coronavirus can be very hard on the lungs and body. Fortunately, vaccines are now available for both the flu and COVID-19. These shots greatly reduce the likelihood that you will contract either of these illnesses. Avoiding illness protects you from additional challenges of managing your asthma.

Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

We have all learned some best practices for health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main lesson is to wash hands frequently and avoid touching your face. These practices have been helping many of us avoid getting the common cold, which can be difficult to manage for asthma sufferers. While there isn’t a cure or vaccine for colds, maintaining the 20-second handwashing routine all year long will help keep cold viruses at bay. Finally, keep your distance from people who are sick.

Wear a scarf or other face covering.

While cold, dry air can trigger an asthma attack, you can warm that air and protect your lungs by wearing something over your nose and mouth. This warms the air coming into your body and reduces the stress of the cold air on your lungs. We’re all used to wearing masks with the pandemic. You could continue to wear your mask as well as a scarf to further warm the air you breathe and ease your winter asthma symptoms.

Limit your time outdoors.

When the weather turns cold and the snow piles up outside, asthma can be triggered by a simple trip to the mailbox. Some people exercise outdoors, but that exposes you to the cold, dry air. Avoid that by exercising indoors instead. The pandemic has blessed us with many options for attending group exercise classes online. Opt for a yoga class on YouTube instead of a walk outside. Consider getting home cardio equipment—or dust it off and use it if you have it! Plan on outdoor activities when it gets warmer or when you can travel to a warmer destination.

Manage the humidity in your home.

As relative humidity drops outside, it also decreases inside your home. If dry air makes your asthma symptoms worse, consider a humidifier for your home or the room where you sleep. Other benefits of humidifiers include reducing static electricity and making your home feel warmer. Several kinds of humidifiers are available. Remember that all humidifiers require regular maintenance to keep them clean for your health. Talk to Dr. Stemmerman about the type of humidifier that might be best for you.

Stay alert for flare-ups.

Even if you stay inside, you should remain on the lookout for asthma symptoms and keep your medications handy. Your indoor air quality can also be a trigger for attacks, especially if you are sensitive to dust mites. Having a fire in the fireplace may seem cozy, but it can also trigger asthma in some people. Watch for wheezing, coughing, tight chest, shortness of breath, and waking up at night, and contact your doctor if your asthma symptoms worsen. 

Get tested for allergies.

One good thing you can accomplish in the winter is to get tested for allergies. Allergy testing is easier in the winter because people usually have fewer problems with their allergies. A person needs to stop taking allergy medications about five days prior to getting tested. So, it’s less difficult to stop taking antihistamines during the winter months to accommodate allergy testing. We encourage you to contact us for more details about allergy testing.

While asthma can make living a normal lifestyle more challenging in winter, it can be managed. Contact Infinity Medical Clinic for further guidance on how to better manage your asthma.


When the new year rolls around, do you think about doing more for your health, like losing weight and eating better? Those are wonderful ways to improve your life! Another great way to manage your health is through your annual physical exam, sometimes referred to as the well-woman exam. This important doctor’s visit gathers the data needed to manage any health issues you have and to screen for cancers like cervical cancer and breast cancer. It also allows you to ask questions and develop a plan for your health.

Get Screened

The main purpose of the annual physical exam is to perform the tests necessary to detect health issues before they spiral out of control. At Infinity Medical Clinic, the staff will have you complete forms and answer questions. Once you move to the exam room, they’ll take your vital signs and give you time to get ready for the physical exam by Dr. Stemmerman. Height, weight, and blood pressure will be measured, and the staff will ask you screening questions about any medications you are taking and the issues you are concerned about.

Another part of the annual exam is the pelvic exam. These exams are a normal part of the wellness check for women aged 21 and older. The exam may include a pap smear, a procedure that helps detect cancerous cells growing on the cervix. The pap smear is important because cervical cancer can grow undetected with no symptoms, which can make it very challenging to overcome.

If you have a strong history of breast cancer in your family or if you’re over age 40, your annual well-woman exam may also include an examination to detect the signs of breast cancer. Be sure to tell Dr. Stemmerman about any changes you have noticed.

Manage Health Issues

Annual physicals are great for keeping your health on track. They can detect some very common health concerns and help you set health goals. Some of the most common health issues we address for patients include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, and birth control. You may also have allergies or asthma, and we can help with those, as well.

Dr. Stemmerman will assess your vital signs and talk to you about what you would like to do about any health issues. She can address and prescribe medications such as birth control pills or discuss and place an IUD. She can also help you make a plan to lose weight. Be sure to talk to her about any problems you’ve had in the past and any goals you have for the year. Our background has enabled us to specialize in women’s health and provide a variety of services designed to help women stay healthy.

Some of the services provided at Infinity Medical Clinic include lab work, such as pregnancy and flu tests, urine analysis, blood work, and rapid COVID testing. We also offer allergy testing. The convenience of our on-site lab is great for our patients from Marion and Cedar Rapids. It also enables us to provide results quickly, so you don’t have as long to wait for accurate results. 

Ask Questions About Your Annual Physical Exam

At any office visit with your doctor, you should feel welcome to ask questions. The staff and Dr. Stemmerman would be happy to find the answers for you about birth control, menopause, weight loss, and any other medical issue you have.

Do you struggle with seasonal allergies? Are you wondering whether that mole on your back should be removed? Are you thinking about starting a family? Have you been feeling down in the dumps? Do you have massive migraines? Whatever your concern, Dr. Stemmerman and the staff at Infinity Medical Clinic want to help. We encourage you to write down your questions and bring them with you to the office. You may also call us with questions about your health or about our services.

If you don’t have your annual physical set up yet, now is the time! Just call the office to get on the schedule!

Call Us at 319-826-6374