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Posted: 4:27 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013
By Katie Virtue
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The Charlotte area has seen a drastic change in temperatures this week, and those big temperature swings can have a negative impact on your body.
As soon as the temperature warms up this weekend, Greg Alexander will head outside into the winter sunshine.
“I like to run a lot,” he said. “I have a street bike, road bike I like to ride a lot. Mostly commuting.”
But typically the winter warm-ups don't last long, and Dr. Thomas Humphries said another temperature drop will send more patients into his office.
“The phone starts to ring and people start having trouble,” he said. “So we commonly see people having more asthma attacks after those big temperature changes.”
This week, temperatures rose from the 20s on Tuesday to the 60s on Wednesday afternoon.
Keisha Smith said that change triggered her children’s asthma, and they began wheezing and breathing hard.
“I was constantly going back and forth to the store, getting medicine because they're always coughing, and it's just bad,” she said.
Temperature changes can be as simple as leaving your warm house and taking a jog in cold winter air. Or an unusually long stretch of warm weather can activate spring allergies months ahead of time.
“In late January, sometimes you'll start to see some of that tree pollen start to come out. And if you have allergies to it, that can also trigger your asthma,” Humphries said.
Most asthma sufferers will start with symptoms like a dry nighttime cough, heaviness in the chest and wheezing as asthma worsens.
Humphries said it's important to check with your doctor if you consistently have breathing problems anytime there's a big warm-up or cool-down in the forecast.
“We gear up for it,” he said. “We know that it's coming. We watch the weather too that you guys produce.”
Temperatures will jump close to record highs this weekend, but then there will be a cool-down back to typical January chill late next week.
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