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Health Alert: Breathing complications from the cold

Protection from the cold (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - With freezing temperatures there's the risk of some serious health concerns.

Within minutes any areas of exposed skin can put people at risk for hypothermia and frostbite. But those are not the only complications people can experience from cold air.

Those most at risk for breathing problems in the Tri-State area tend to be asthmatics. They may already have a tough time due to limited lung capacity especially if asthma isn't well controlled. Top that with temperatures this cold and people can end up feeling a tightness in their chest when they breath, especially if they’re rushing around outside trying to get out of the cold.

People may feel trouble breathing if they recently had an illness such as a respiratory infection or are prone to pneumonia. The same may be true if the person has problems in the heart or vascular symptoms that narrow blood flow.

Dr. Thomas Lamarre, infectious disease specialist, said, “If you have underlying heart disease or lung disease, periods of intense exertion certainly could be contraindicated or harmful. Intense cold in healthy adults should not precipitate wheezing or bronchospasm, but if you have underlying lung disease, it can be dangerous.”

It’s important to note the cold doesn't actually make people sick. A person doesn’t’ “catch” a cold outside but some research shows it may lower immunity to certain illnesses. Many of them are passed around this time of year because people are forced inside with close contact.

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