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Why do dust and cold cause breathing problems?

Q: I am a 24 years old male suffering from a breathing problem. When I take my breath in, I feel a sound coming through my lungs and it is hard to take the breath. It happens when I am more exposed to dust and cold. I suffer from sneezing due to both cold and dust. I also had a sinus problem in the past. What causes breathing problem when exposed to dust and cold?

A:Your history suggests that you have an allergic tendency causing upper airway or throat as well as nose and eye inflammation. As you mention, cold and dust may be triggering this and cause inflammation or swelling in the air passages or bronchial tubes. This causes narrowing and the noise is called wheezing. The muscle in the air passages may also be contracting causing the wheezing and shortness of breath. As mentioned in previous discussions for similar problems, you should avoid the trigger and also consider talking to your doctor about getting inhalers which have medications that decrease inflammation like inhaled steroid medicine and also medicine that relaxes the airways like albuterol. Sometimes sinusitis needs antibiotics and saline spray or rinse to clear the nose of mucus. I also notice that based on your height and weight you have an elevated body mass index and you should lose weight.

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