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Exercising or spending time outside in extreme cold may cause coughing

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Posted at 11:22 AM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 12:22:07-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Doctors warn people may notice themselves coughing after spending time outside in the extreme cold currently in place around Kansas City, Missouri.

Doctor Mario Castro, a pulmonologist at the University of Kansas Health System, said the cold air can somewhat dry the windpipe, resulting in a coughing reflex. He said people with asthma and other respiratory issues will be more sensitive to the cold air.

He suggested exercising indoors or using albuterol before going outside to pre-medicate against any irritation.

“Some patients will just wear a scarf and kind of re-breathe and warm the air that way, which is adequate to protect against exercise-induced bronchospasm,” Castro explained.

A bronchospasm is when the airway tightens, making it more difficult to breathe and causes coughing.