Winter can be a difficult season for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses. People with COPD benefit from regular exercise, including physical activity in the winter, but the cold can exacerbate respiratory symptoms such as cough, asthma, and bronchitis. Even cold weather cooling of the facial skin alone can trigger bronchospasm and cough in those with asthma and COPD.
Facial protection that improves airway warmth and humidity is crucial to help prevent COPD symptoms for those who want to enjoy outdoor winter pursuits. However, a serious concern is that those with COPD, asthma and other lung diseases, including lung cancer, commonly experience feelings of breathlessness called "dyspnea." The American Thoracic Society defines dyspnea as "a subjective experience of breathing discomfort that consists of qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity," the degree of distress involved, and its burden or impact on activities of daily living.
Dyspnea provokes distress and panic when it occurs and can be induced by feelings of claustrophobia and restricted breathing. Thus while proper face and airway protection for outdoor winter activity should help humidify and warm the airways, it should not restrict breathing. The proper protective gear must strike a triple balance of warming and humidifying the airway, protecting facial skin from cold, and allow for unrestricted nasal and mouth breathing to help prevent dyspnea.
Studies since the 1980's have shown that application of a cool stream of air to the face modifies the perception of dyspnea, suggesting that stimulation of cold receptors located in the upper airway may be responsible for the relief of breathlessness (Eur Respir J, 2017; 50: 1701383, http://ow.ly/tKJk30dJ5Pv). An air current applied to the face also improves exercise performance in COPD (Lung, 2015, 193: 725–731).
If you have COPD or another respiratory disease that causes breathlessness and wish to enjoy winter outdoor activity, protect your airway face and airway with a specialized product like ColdAvenger which was designed by a physician to help prevent his asthma while skiing.
ColdAvenger’s technical fabric protects the face from cold and it’s unique ventilator mixes inhaled cold dry air with exhaled warm humid air to achieve a dynamic microclimate of comfort around your face. It’s unrestricted breathing design allows you to experience a breeze to the face of comfortable cool air to reduce feelings of dyspnea and claustrophobia. Experience ColdAvenger for winter outdoors and breathe well.