Exercising in cold weather can take your breath away

For some people, cold weather sports like those in Winter Olympic competitions can increase the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma.

“Cold temperatures, as well as dry air, can cause excessive dryness in mucus-producing tissue that lines the respiratory passages and result in more symptoms,” says Dr. Indu Warrier, an allergist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Symptoms include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath because of vigorous physical activity. The symptoms don’t have to interfere with exercise, though, Dr. Warrier says.

“No matter the temperature, prevention is the most important way to control exercise-induced asthma,” she says.

Prevention can include using an inhaler or taking other prescription medication 15 to 20 minute before exercise. Using asthma maintenance medication as prescribed to get the underlying condition under control also will help control symptoms better.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/allergy to learn more about clinical services at UT Southwestern for allergies.

Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

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