Did you know that wrapping a scarf around your mouth and nose could help prevent an asthma attack this winter?

This simple tip is at the core of a campaign by Asthma UK to help sufferers in cold weather, which can exacerbate symptoms and bring on an attack. Now in its third year, the organisation’s ‘#Scarfies’ campaign is encouraging those with asthma and supporters to take a selfie wearing their scarf and post it on social media, raising awareness and helping others with the condition.

According to Asthma UK, 5.4m people in the UK have asthma - one in 11 people. A quarter of a million live with ‘severe’ asthma and sadly, three people die from asthma every day - with two of these deaths being preventable. Asthma also costs the NHS £1bn every year in treating and caring for sufferers.

The idea behind #Scarfies comes from the fact that when you breathe through a scarf, it warms the air up, helping prevent cold air irritating your airways and triggering an asthma attack. All you need to do is wrap a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth to warm up the air before you breathe it in! Stephen Fry, Toby Anstis and Jo Pavey are among the celebrities supporting the campaign, posting photos of themselves wrapped up in their scarves on social media.

Other things you can do to manage your asthma include:

  • using a written plan, filled in with your GP or asthma nurse
  • making sure you take prescribed medication
  • having regular reviews with your GP or nurse (at least once a year)
  • knowing what triggers your asthma and learning to spot the signs; according to Asthma UK, an attack rarely comes out of the blue
  • not smoking
  • phoning Asthma UK’s helpline on 0300 222 5800
  • considering private medical insurance

The organisation has advice on health insurance for asthma, including benefits such as reduced waiting times to see an expert, getting a second opinion and mental health support to cope with a diagnosis or anxiety.