20. Nasal Congestion
Our noses are pretty remarkable parts of our body. While we take them for granted as a way to breath and call them “plain” they actually do a great deal of work to keep us healthy. As we breathe in air our nose warms it up to help it reach our lungs at the right temperature. When the air is too cold, our nose will prevent the air from getting to our lungs by immediately bringing the air up to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This change happens faster than you would think – it takes about a quarter of a second – and uses tiny blood vessels to ensure the process runs smoothly.
When there is too much cold air entering the passages of your nose, the blood vessels can swell and create nasal congestion. This leads to a thickening of the mucus which can make it very difficult to breathe. This, in turn leads to breathing through the mouth which gives no warming effect on the air and can increase the amount of histamine that is released. Histamine release can lead to wheezing and other respiratory problems.