Effect of Cold on the Respiratory System
The effect of cold varies with the type and duration of application. When cold application is in the form of a douche (a douche is an application of water by an apparatus that drives or throws water upon the surface of the body or any part of it), the effect is to produce short, gasping respiratory movements. This effect is more pronounced if the douche is applied to the chest or upper part of the body. In asthmatics, a cold douche to the chest tends to produce a paroxysm of asthmatic breathing because of reflex vasoconstric-tion of pulmonary vessels and resultant reduction in surface area for gas exchange. If cold application is in the form of a cold bath, following the initial increase, there is a slowing of the respiratory rate, with an in-crease in depth of respiration.