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Counterintuitive Reaction to Bronchitis from Cold Air Outdoors

I was so congested this morning I couldn't catch my breath. Not being the neatest, my car needed cleared out to get me to the hospital. It was 27 degrees out with ice everywhere. My husband was trying to find his IDs, and so didn't help with the car. Against all logic, the hard work in the cold air cleared my breathing and I ended up not needing to go to the hospital, and have been OK all day long. You'd think working in the frosty air would have made it worse instead of better (I'm truly grateful it did, as I shouldn't be in a hospital with a low immune system), but can anyone tell me why it did? Just curious. This is, fortunately, a light case of bronchitis, but it did give me a scare. I haven't had a second bout, so I think I'm clear. If not, I'll take care of it.

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By Cornelia from OR

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January 18, 20130 found this helpful

You're right, for the congestion to clear whilst out in the freezing cold IS counterintuitive.

Do you have allergies or sinus problems? I do. There are times I wake in the morning to find I'm congested-sometimes I have a headache too. Once I'm up and moving around the congestion drains, though, and I'm fine.

If this happens again you might want to think about sleeping on a wedge pillow that elevates your upper body, and looking for allergens in your bedroom.

Allergens in a bedroom can be from any source, even ones that were not a problem previously. Dust, pet dander, smoke from a fireplace or wood stove, a reformulated laundry soap, mold/mildew; the list is nearly endless.

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January 18, 20130 found this helpful

The cold air causes contractions at nerve,blood vessel, and tube endings. This is why your fingers and toes get cold and why your sinuses stop running outside. When you go inside or hold your hands to a fire, the vessels/tubes/nerves dilate and fluids/blood returns.

Victorian houses have vestibules at the front door so that women could blow their nose in privacy when they entered the warm house.

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