Humans are able to adapt and cope with the change of seasons, but extreme cold, like very hot weather, can have a negative effect on various parts of our body.
With snow falling and temperatures falling below freezing in many parts of the United States, many have begun to ask a number of questions about the health impacts of this extreme weather.
Among the most pressing questions: Can sub-zero temperatures freeze the lungs?
“Our body does its best to maintain an internal temperature of around 37 degrees, and since the lungs are enclosed in the chest cavity, if the whole body is not at risk, the lungs should not be at risk,” explains Dr. Arian Chiari, a pulmonologist at the Mayo Clinic. are at risk.”
However, he noted that cold and dry air can enter the lungs and cause irritation, leading to bronchospasm, which can cause a feeling of constriction in the chest. Your lungs are unlikely to freeze.
You may feel discomfort or even a burning sensation from breathing at low temperatures. What is common.
“Our bodies are very well adapted to the intake of cold air,” explains Dr. Chiari. “There are many mechanisms that allow the air to be warmed and humidified before it reaches the lungs, where gas exchange occurs.”
He added: “What’s happening is that cold air tends to be drier and your body works to moisturize it. In doing so, it can irritate the airways, leading to a process called bronchospasm, where those airways narrow and you feel from shortness of breath.”
People with chronic lung disease
Extremely cold air can be dangerous for everyone, but for people with chronic lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the cold can make things worse. For example, in emphysema, cold air can cause airway spasms, making breathing difficult.
As Dr. Chiari says: “Patients with respiratory conditions, whether asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other lung conditions, are more likely to exacerbate their symptoms if they are exposed to cold winter conditions. The best thing they can do to protect themselves is to prepare.” Whether it’s an extra supply of an inhaler for a few days in case of an emergency, or having an emergency generator for medical equipment such as ventilators, continuous positive pressure machines, or oxygen concentrators.”
Tips for safe breathing
You should try not to go out during the winter storm, says Dr. Chiari. He notes that if you must be outdoors, follow the breathing advice: “It’s usually best to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. The nose humidifies and warms the air better than the mouth. Scarf around nose and mouth. , or a ski mask is good. It can help outdoors because it can trap some of the heat and moisture.”
And try to avoid exercising outside in cold weather if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic lung disease.
Source: Medical Express