Have you ever found it hard to catch your breath on a cold day? You’re not alone. Frigid, icy weather can affect your vital organs, including the heart and lungs. Although healthy individuals dressed for the cold and not exposed to temperature extremes or vigorous activity for long periods are typically okay, a Winter’s Day can be more challenging if you have underlying heart or lung disease.
For people with asthma, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cold weather can trigger a host of respiratory symptoms. Some of the reasons this happens includes the following ones:
- As the temperature drops, the air gets drier. Because of this dryness, the thin layer of fluid that lines the airways begins to evaporate faster than it can get replaced. This situation causes the throat to feel dry, which in turn irritates and inflames the airways.
- The cold weather also affects the quality of mucus production and your susceptibility to catching a cold and infection. The mucus produced in cold weather is stickier and thicker than the mucus produced in moderate temperatures. It’s more likely to cause respiratory blockages and increase your risk for a lung infection.
At the office of North Jersey Pulmonary Associates, we provide the care and guidance patients need to breathe easier all year long. We offer these eight tips to help patients protect their respiratory health and cope with the cold weather:
- Take a moment to check the weather, prepare, and dress accordingly.
- Wearing a hat and dressing warmly in layers helps to trap warm air and insulate your body
- A scarf that covers your nose and mouth will help warm the air before it enters your lungs.
- Be mindful to breathe through your nose and not through your mouth, which sends cold air directly to your lungs. Air that passes through your nose gets warmed and humidified before it reaches your lungs.
- If you have respiratory issues, avoid strenuous exercise or activity like shoveling a lot of snow or taking a fatiguing and arduous hike.
- Take all medications as prescribed and keep the ones you need to alleviate any acute respiratory symptoms close at hand.
- If you start to feel even a little out of breath, experience coughing, wheezing, or tightness in the chest, it’s time to head indoors.
- Support your immune system and respiratory health by getting vaccinated as recommended.
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As your trusted partner in care, the office of North Jersey Pulmonary Associates is always on hand when you need us and to address all your questions and concerns. For more information on our office and the full range of services we provide, give us a call today.
By North Jersey Pulmonary Associates
November 8, 2021