Cold weather could impact your respiratory system

Cold weather could impact your respiratory system

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The temperatures across southeastern North Carolina are expected to drop and for some people, this means it will be difficult to catch a breath which can lead to some serious health issues.

The cold, dry air can act as an irritant to our airways. We have a thin lining in the airway of water and when you breath in cold air it tends to make this water evaporate and it can cause inflammation in the airway. And that makes it clamp down and can set off asthma.

When it’s cold outside, people tend stay indoors more, turn off the air conditioner and keep the windows shut. Because of this, allergens circulate within the home which can also become an irritant.

For people who like to run or exercise outdoors, it is suggested that you don’t push yourself. You should always warm up 10 to 15 minutes before you start your workout. If you do have complications during your workout because of the cold weather, try wearing a mask or a scarf around your mouth to reduce the dry air coming in.

If you suffer from asthma, make sure you take your medications, if prescribed, and have an inhaler in case of an emergency. However, it is suggested that if you know that you already have breathing problems to bring your workouts indoors for the season.

For children with asthma, Dr. Kenneth Myers at Allergy Partners of Coastal Carolina said that it is encouraged for them to still participate in recess despite the cold weather.

“We do not want people to not do exercise, so, therefore, it’s important for them to do recess," said Myers. “Again, if they have asthma, we’ll write them asthma action plans to have in place at school that says ’okay this child has asthma, they’re going to have problems with the cold air.' It’s important for them to use that rescue inhaler before they go out in that environment.”

When its cold out, people tend to get sick more often as well. But some can mistake having a cold or the flu with being irritated by the cold weather. If it’s just a cough or tightness in your chest, it’s likely a reaction to the cold temperatures, but it’s all about how frequently you have these symptoms.

If you have one little event that lasts five to ten days a year, it’s probably just a cold or a virus. But once this starts happening three times a year or you know that it happens every time the temperatures drop, you could have a respiratory problem.

If you’re having symptoms like coughing or tightness, talk to your primary care physician who can help come up with a plan or a medication to get you on the road to improve your health.

People who already have breathing problems, such as asthma, getting another irritant such as the flu or the cold can also trigger asthma attacks.

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