That lung burning feeling

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That lung burning feeling

Postby ft_critical » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:41 pm

On cold mornings, when I go to maximum exertion, my lungs burn. This also results in a cough, and can occasionally be followed by mild discomfort in the lungs for a couple of days.

I believe the reason is the cold air drying the mucus in the lungs. I would guess that the lungs being dry and expanding and contracting vigorously would cause some slight damage/irritation (but I am just guessing.) Further, that the cough and a little bit of phlegmy feeling is a repairing process. Any definitive comments welcome.

Other than not riding fast in the cold air, has anyone got and preventative solutions to this problem? I might try wearing a mask type arrangement to filter/warm the cold air and see how that goes.
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by BNA » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:52 pm

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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby DaveOZ » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:52 pm

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/CELL-Bufand ... -Bike-Wear

This type of thing might help. It gets real cold in Bowral and I have an ASSOS winter Jacket that has a hood built in that covers most of your face. I've worn it a few times and it makes a huge difference to the air you breath. The Bufanda thing looks like a useful thing.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby ft_critical » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:52 pm

DaveOZ wrote:http://www.cellbikes.com.au/CELL-Bufanda-Adaptable-Bike-Wear


Thanks Dave, that looks pretty good.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby sketch » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:31 pm

Maximum exertion, for most people is characterised by heavy mouth breathing. The result is that cold dry air makes in into your lungs causing irritation and a cough. The role of your nose is to warm filter and humidify the air so it doesnt happen any other time.

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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby twizzle » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:40 pm

ft_critical wrote:On cold mornings, when I go to maximum exertion, my lungs burn. This also results in a cough, and can occasionally be followed by mild discomfort in the lungs for a couple of days.

I believe the reason is the cold air drying the mucus in the lungs. I would guess that the lungs being dry and expanding and contracting vigorously would cause some slight damage/irritation (but I am just guessing.) Further, that the cough and a little bit of phlegmy feeling is a repairing process. Any definitive comments welcome.

Other than not riding fast in the cold air, has anyone got and preventative solutions to this problem? I might try wearing a mask type arrangement to filter/warm the cold air and see how that goes.


Mostly likely "Pursuiters Cough" or "Track Hack", otherwise known as exercise induced asthma. Beware - that phlegmy feeling is the mucus blocking your airways! I've had it on three occasions - the first time I took myself to the doctor the next day and was diagnosed, the last time (uber-effort 5km TT) was scary as I couldn't stop coughing up fluid and I'd forgotten to pack the ventolin. Luckily for me, one of the guys I race with was packing ventolin in his bag, but it took at least a week to recover from that one.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby scotto » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:59 pm

sounds like maybe some exercise induced asthma. the maximal exertion combined with cold dry air irritates the bronchioles and alveoli ( same air sacs in the lung) which can cause coughing and increased sputum production. See your gp - they'll likely put you on an inhaler like seritide or pulmicort to settle the airways down. See here for more info
http://www.racgp.org.au/cmi/gwcseret.pdf
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby philip » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:25 pm

I get the same thing, I don't seem to notice anything while I'm riding, but when I get home my throat seems irritated and I cough for the rest of the day. Only happens when it's cold and I do hard efforts. I doubt there's anything you can do about it that wouldn't restrict your breathing, but am interested to know also.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby ft_critical » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:34 pm

philip wrote:I get the same thing, I don't seem to notice anything while I'm riding, but when I get home my throat seems irritated and I cough for the rest of the day. Only happens when it's cold and I do hard efforts. I doubt there's anything you can do about it that wouldn't restrict your breathing, but am interested to know also.


Like riding up from Roseville Bridge is where I get it. After the air gets warmer on a ride it is no problem. But it can't be good for you, my lungs still feel a little sore from the Tue ride. I am going to try something like Dave suggested for the Thur ride and see what happens.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby gorilla monsoon » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:46 pm

ft_critical wrote:
DaveOZ wrote:http://www.cellbikes.com.au/CELL-Bufanda-Adaptable-Bike-Wear


Thanks Dave, that looks pretty good.


Yep, put it on then go stand in front of Fred Nile's office! :D
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby trailgumby » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:45 pm

ft_critical wrote:Like riding up from Roseville Bridge is where I get it. After the air gets warmer on a ride it is no problem. But it can't be good for you, my lungs still feel a little sore from the Tue ride. I am going to try something like Dave suggested for the Thur ride and see what happens.

Well if I see you as I climb the eastbound hill in the evening I'll... probably ride harder to get away from the suspicious dude on the bike wearing the mask! :lol:

Humour aside, I know what you mean and it afflicts me during winter as well. Seretide helps. So has getting a bit fitter so that I don't need to dig quite as deep on the climbs riding home of an evening.

I find it's much worse after having had a head or chest cold, and it takes a few weeks to improve thereafter. Fortunately I rarely feel restricted like I can;t get enough air, my EIA manifests as a tickling cough and constantly clearing my throat. It's worse when I talk.

When it's acute either during or after illness I've found that tipping hot water into a stainless thermos and breathing in the vapour helps enormously - aerosol ventolin won;t even touch it, and the nebuliser is only good for as long as the dose is being administered. As soon as its finished, the reflexive tickling cough comes straight back. And of couse the explosive inhalation of cold dry air just puts me into a vicious circle.

The warm moist air seems to help break that cycle and was suggested by my GP (who seems to channel House ;) ).

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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby flammer » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:47 pm

Does the nature of the air make a difference? My asthma triggers are strong cleaning chemicals and cold DRY air. Before being diagnosed, I would get fit for XC skiing, get there and feel crap. Asthma phlegm ( a lovely word) is like PVA glue. :?
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby scotto » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:29 am

flammer wrote:Does the nature of the air make a difference? My asthma triggers are strong cleaning chemicals and cold DRY air. Before being diagnosed, I would get fit for XC skiing, get there and feel crap. Asthma phlegm ( a lovely word) is like PVA glue. :?

Triggers can be a very individual thing. Sudden change in air temperature, increase in ventilation (ie exercise), chemicals, dust, pollen.
If youre regularly coughing up lots of thick tenacious white secretions, its indicative of inflammation within the small airways and you should be on (a preventer type) medication, visit your GP.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby twizzle » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:37 am

The first time mine was triggered was a 110+% flying lap effort in early summer with heavy pollen. Second time was a 150%+ effort in cold conditions with fog. So in my case, I guess it's mainly from stupid exertion levels. I use ventolin after an attack, it usually solves the problem pretty quickly... but the doctor never suggested a preventer. :?
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby duds2u » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:57 am

In a past life and a different city I used to do a lot of XC ski racing.

I used to find that the first few "serious" hit outs on the snow would trigger these reactions. I could cruise all day and no problems but when I got into max heart rate sessions, read sucking a lot of cold air into parts of the lungs that don't normally get stressed, I would experience these symptoms. I also found that my lungs became acclimatised to it and most the remainder of the race season I wouldn't have any problems. The only time it would reappear would be on race days that were seriously sub zero and then you had other freezing bits to worry about as well.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby DrJay » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:35 pm

Lots of docs don't suggest a preventer for occasional attacks. More serious attacks respond well to preventers though, and seretide is nifty, as it's a combination of a steroid preventer (flixotide) and long acting reliever, serevent (salmeterol). I can't remember the generic name of flixotide, and can't be bothered looking it up on ciap (inside joke there).

It's not really (not at all) my area of specialty, but I do get asthma post respiratory viral infections, and often use serevent for a few weeks. The odd bit of exercise induced wheeze I get at other times I can fortunately ignore, it's not that serious.
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Re: That lung burning feeling

Postby sim-o » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:10 pm

+1 to the inhaler. I get exercise induced asthma, which is much worse during winter. If I take a puff before a ride/run then I have no issues with my lungs. Although they say not to use it too often because you can build up an immunity to it.
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