Dear Ask The Doctor: My husband has complained for years that cool air hurts his lungs. Air conditioning or a ceiling fan hurt his lungs. At night if the ceiling fan is on he has to stick his head under the covers a breath in the warm air. Over the last three months he has had two bouts of bronchitis. I have been concerned that something may be going on with his lungs, he feels I am over reacting. Should I be concerned? Does cool air hurting lungs happen for normal reasons?
Dear Patient: I understand your concern about your husband’s condition; direct cold air form the AC could cause some effects in lungs if he is breathing through his mouth. The nose humidifies warms and filters the air going to the bronchi; if someone breathes cold air through the mouth it would go directly into the bronchi and could cause irritation of them.
This is not something to worry too much about but if he is indeed breathing thru his mouth during nights and complaining the next day about lung pain or cough, then he might probably need to visit an ENT specialist for a more detailed evaluation.