Cold 'can cause asthma'

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TRAINING in cold conditions can cause asthma, say Swedish researchers, writes Celia Hall.

When Dr Kjell Larsson of the National Institute of Occupational Health, Solna, and colleagues tested 42 cross-country skiers and 29 healthy non-skiers they found that 23 of the skiers had diagnosed asthma or asthma symptoms compared with only one non-skier.

Training is often at -10C or -15C. The researchers would have expected three asthmatic skiers.

'Cough, abnormal shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheeze related to exercise or cold were significantly more common in the skiers,' Dr Larsson says in the British Medical Journal. This is 'possibly due to the repeated breathing of large amounts of cold air'.