Friday, December 17, 2010

Cold Induced Asthma

I really can't exercise very vigorously in below freezing weather--my lungs start to hurt, and I can't get enough oxygen flow.  I tried wrapping a scarf around my face, as some websites have suggested, as a solution.  This helps a bit, but only a little bit, and worse--my glasses start to fog up!  This product, Polarwrap Warm Air Mask, claims to provide 80 degree air even when it is 20 degrees outside--and the one review is enthusiastic about it.  Does anyone have experience with this product or others that perform a similar function?

I would think that those who live in places with severe winter storms might find this (or something like it) a useful addition to one's automotive emergency kit.  A lot of the calories you burn in cold weather is spent warming up and humidifying incoming air before it gets to your lungs.  While burning calories is usually a good thing, if you get stranded in your car for a couple of days, or lost in the wilderness, conserving calories may be the difference between life and death.

UPDATE: I'm not seeing any other competition in even close to the same price range, and other reviews were positive, so I ordered it up from Sierra Trading Post.  (The local Sierra Trading Post doesn't have it--this is a clearance item.)   I'll report back how it works out in a few days.  At $24.95, if it even just turns 20 degree air into 50 degree air, that would be acceptable.  The only question is whether I will sound like Darth Vader when using it.

13 comments:

Douglas said...

I had trouble with nosebleeds when living where temperatures were routinely -20C/-5F.

I started using a $3 3M dust mask (the sort with a valve for exhale) under my scarf.

Made the half-hour walk to work much more pleasant to breathe warm humid air the whole time.

PL said...

Looking like Darth Vader while using it should suffice. Sounding like Darth Vader? Bonus!

Hope it works well. Good luck!

RHPZero said...

I've had good luck with neoprene face masks for this purpose, although my usage was typically snowshoeing or backcountry skiing in Vermont in some pretty harsh conditions.

Kathy K said...

Interesting. I wonder if it would help on airplanes (assuming the crew didn't think you were planning a robbery). Humidity is the problem there.

rhhardin said...

I believe it doesn't work for exercise, because you breathe back in a large amount of the air you just breathed out, so the CO2 level is very high.

A true heat exchanger has separate paths for air out and air in, which this does not.

It will warm the air, and is probably fine for walking.

(I don't know if it's the same one I bought a couple years ago for bike riding, or not.

Also, it fogs the glasses unless you practice air control, as do all the face masks I've tried. You have to contort with each breath to seal off the air paths past the cheeks on exhale, which isn't hard but takes practice.)

John Cunningham said...

when I lived in Fairbanks, a few pals of mine who were electrical linemen and equipment operators bought this type of mask, they all loved them. this was 10 years ago, I cannot recall the brand name, but it seemed to work well in the minus 50s.

Chas S. Clifton said...

I will be curious to see your review.

I was thinking about the same issue this morning when I took the dogs for their walk. It was 10° F. -- not super-cold, but as we climbed the same hill we climb frequently, I felt myself running out of breath all of a sudden and wondered if I should have wrapped a scarf around my face.

(Somehow they seem just the same. Maybe having a long muzzle helps.)

Erik said...

There's a product from Sweden called Airtrim that's been used by some Swedish cross-country skiers. I haven't tried it but it apparently doesn't hinder your breathing much. You will look like Darth Vader though.

http://www.airtrim.se/eng/index.html
http://www.skigo.ca/airtrim.php
http://www.skiwax.ca/extra/extra.php

Tim said...

Dunno if it'll help enough, but try breathing in through your nose & out through your mouth. The sinuses will help warm the air, & exhaling through your mouth will help keep your throat moist.

Juba Doobai! said...

Personally, I kinda like snake wine to combat my asthma. Recipe: three poisonous snakes, assorted herbs, moonshine or Chinese rice wine. Gut the snakes, leave the heads on and toss them in a huge glass jug (don't bother washing the snakes) full of moonshine and herbs. Cover tightly, tape, and date. Let stand for 3-6 months, the longer the better. Filter out the snakes and pour the wine into a new glass bottle. Drink a shot glass. Goodbye asthma.

Rabbit said...

I've used each of these at various times of year and I've had good results. They look a little less intimidating and filter pollens while not restricting airflow as much as some masks. The internal carbon filter pads are especially good with high ozone and particulate days here in the Dallas area during summer.

http://www.icanbreathe.com/

Clayton said...

"Dunno if it'll help enough, but try breathing in through your nose & out through your mouth."

Tried that. It is better, but not good enough!

jdixon said...

My wife has had good results with the Psolar-Ex. You can find the specs on it at http://www.psolar.com/id5.html