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  1. #1
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    Keeping breathing air warm?

    Does anyone know of a mask or devise that can keep your breathing air warm? I got a nasty pnemona a few years back from running in winter weather.

  2. #2
    Senior Member HDWound's Avatar
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    http://www.achooallergy.com/mask-bre...gemaskfull.asp

    I just got one of these for winter riding. They have a half mask also. Dunno if it works as advertised or not as I haven't tried it out yet.

  3. #3
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    http://www.psolar.com/

    Amazingly warm. I can't wear mine if it's over 10F.
    Bring the pain.

  4. #4
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    For generations, parental wisdom has held that cold air is not good for children's respiratory systems. In particular, cold air has been thought to cause colds (thus the name). Earlier medical traditions have tended to agree with folk wisdom. Over the last fifteen years or so, the prevailing medical opinion has shifted to a different point of view. The more recent thinking is that cold air does not cause colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, or other respiratory infections. Scientifically designed experiments have been carried out to prove the theory that cold temperatures do not cause the common cold.

    Studies conducted at the University of Virginia made the news when healthy adult volunteers cavorted in the snow with few clothes on and were found no more likely to catch respiratory infections than their companions indoors. Subsequently, at McMurdo Station, a US research base in Antarctica, several important studies have been carried out. (What better place to study the effect of cold temperature than Antarctica?) People in isolation at this base tended to get no colds at all -- unless visitors came from the outside. Specific viruses that the visitors brought to the station worked their way through the research compound at a rather leisurely pace, approximating the rate of cold acquisition in other climates. This demonstrated that cold temperature itself does not cause colds.

    The scientific studies are rather convincing, but let's consider other known impacts of cold air on the respiratory system. First, cold air affects an important defense mechanism -- mucus transport. The entire respiratory system is coated with a very thin layer of mucus called the mucus blanket, which rests on tiny hairs called cilia. This mucus blanket traps particles and organisms before they can reach the lungs. This constantly moving blanket acts as a conveyer belt to move the particles out of the respiratory system. Proper action of the mucociliary blanket depends on the mucus having the appropriate mixture of stickiness (to catch the particles) and fluidity (to move the particles up and out). When this is altered by dry air, irritating chemicals, cigarette smoke, or any other factor, the respiratory system becomes more susceptible to infection. Cold air stimulates an increase in mucus production, but like other substances, mucus becomes thicker in colder temperatures. Thus, inhaled particles are cleared less easily when a person breathes cold air.

    The second area where cold air impacts respiratory health is in the nose. The nose is a remarkable organ designed to condition inhaled air in order to protect the delicate lung tissues. Whether the inhaled air has a relative humidity of one percent or ninety percent, the nose adds or extracts moisture so that air reaching the lungs has a constant relative humidity of about 75%. The same is true of temperature. When breathing through the nose, one may breathe in air at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but within a quarter of a second the air temperature is quickly brought to 98.6 degrees.

  5. #5
    Se˝ior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    +1 for psolarx. I have the HX balaclava. I find I have to slow down a bit because it does hinder the air flow, but it does the job and my throat does not get torn up at very low temps.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  6. #6
    US Army armyrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recursive
    http://www.psolar.com/

    Amazingly warm. I can't wear mine if it's over 10F.

    wow!!!! i am not out in that weather on my bikes... well i havent been in the past... kudos.

  7. #7
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Does anyone know of a mask or devise that can keep your breathing air warm? I got a nasty pnemona a few years back from running in winter weather.
    Like the other guy posted in that really annoying link, cold weather does not cause pneumonia. It usually happens due to a viral infection that ends up with a bacterial superinfection with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella sp., Pseudomonas, or a Pneumococcus bacteria.

    I have done studies(and well described in the literature) that have shown that even very low doses of influenza combined with a very low dose of Strep pneumo 7 days later can cause lethality.

    It is the combination of a virus primer with a bacterial infection some days later that causes most cases of pneumonia. So the moral of the story is don't get the virus in the first place.

    Viral transmission to the lungs happens in only a couple of ways. You need to either touch the virus then your eyes, or touch the virus and then your nose. If you are religious about not touching your eyes or nose, you won't get sick. Direct transmission, such as breathing in a sneeze is quite uncommon for most respiratory viruses.

    But, it is annoying to breathe cold air. I have a neoprene hunting mask that works well. I don't hunt...it is just that the hunting stuff works as well on a bike and is a fraction of the price....and now I am camoflauged.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/CAMO-Neoprene-FA...QQcmdZViewItem
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    I have a neoprene mask like that as well. It's good for the temperature range between the psolar and using nothing. (about 10F to 25F for me)
    Bring the pain.

  9. #9
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    I tried a mask last winter, and it was just too restrictive. Also, anything that presses on my nose causes it to close up, and you really want to breathe through your nose as much as possible in cold weather. What works for me for temperatures in the 30-40░ range (it's not usually much colder than that at the times I ride in the winter) is just a balaclava pulled up over my face. Exhaling warms the fabric and my face, so it helps pre-warm some of the air coming back in. It probably won't work for much colder temperatures, but it's a simple and cheap start, and you can easily uncover your nose/mouth/whole face if you get warm or your breathing feels restricted.

  10. #10
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJakucyk
    I tried a mask last winter, and it was just too restrictive. Also, anything that presses on my nose causes it to close up, and you really want to breathe through your nose as much as possible in cold weather. What works for me for temperatures in the 30-40░ range (it's not usually much colder than that at the times I ride in the winter) is just a balaclava pulled up over my face. Exhaling warms the fabric and my face, so it helps pre-warm some of the air coming back in. It probably won't work for much colder temperatures, but it's a simple and cheap start, and you can easily uncover your nose/mouth/whole face if you get warm or your breathing feels restricted.
    FWIW, the psolar masks are surprisingly unrestrictive with respect to airflow.
    Bring the pain.

  11. #11
    Senior Member RomSpaceKnight's Avatar
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    I wear glasses so fogging is big issue. I use a simple bandanna. Remember to pull off face before entering convenience stores.

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    I don't worry about the cold air giving me a cold - the cold air simply causes my lungs to burn and hurt for hours, so I need something, but since I live in Texas I only need something really light. Hopefully I can find a silk or similar lightweight facemask.

  13. #13
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg
    I don't worry about the cold air giving me a cold - the cold air simply causes my lungs to burn and hurt for hours, so I need something, but since I live in Texas I only need something really light. Hopefully I can find a silk or similar lightweight facemask.
    Any old thing will do if stays in place. When gets down to about 10f I use a thin fleece neack gaitor. I can pull it up when needed and push down if I get too hot, and it stays in place well.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  14. #14
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg
    I don't worry about the cold air giving me a cold - the cold air simply causes my lungs to burn and hurt for hours, so I need something, but since I live in Texas I only need something really light. Hopefully I can find a silk or similar lightweight facemask.
    same here. i rarely get sick but my lungs do hurt when it's really cold and i'm breathing hard. sometimes it gives me a nasty cough as well.

  15. #15
    VOTE FOR KEN WIND Ken Wind's Avatar
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    I have an Icebreaker merino wool balaclava (the heavier weight one) that works well for keeping my head and the air I breathe warrm.

  16. #16
    Dances a jig. Mchaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RomSpaceKnight
    I wear glasses so fogging is big issue. I use a simple bandanna. Remember to pull off face before entering convenience stores.
    Ya, a bandana works wonders. Fold it in half corner to corner, and roll it over a couple of times. Then tie it on your face wild west bandit style. If you really want to stay warm, tuck the excess hanging down under your jacket collar.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Joe1946's Avatar
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    I use a Polar Wrap mask when it gets real cold and it does work.
    http://www.polarwrap.com/how.htm

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe1946
    I use a Polar Wrap mask when it gets real cold and it does work.
    http://www.polarwrap.com/how.htm
    Study results on polarwrap's website. Do you use the exchanger mask or full head cover? Prices?

    The Effects of a Heat Exchange Mask
    on Sprint Performance in the Cold


    John G. Seifert*, Jeremy Frost, and David W. Bacharach. Human Performance Laboratory, St. Cloud State University,
    St. Cloud, MN 56301

    Introduction
    It is thought that the transfer of heat and/or water vapor away from the body leads to broncho- and vaso-constriction. Deal et al. (1979) and McFadden (1983) reported that inhalation of cold, dry air decreased pulmonary function and increased cardiovascular stress. As cold-induced vasoconstriction occurs, there is a redirection of blood flow away from the tissues to the body core, which may then, impact muscle performance. It stands to reason that cold air should by warmed and humidified before it enters the pharyngeal area. Wearing a specially designed heat exchanger (HE) may reduce physiological stress. The HE is filled with copper that serves as a thermal medium by trapping some of the expired water vapor and heat. However, it is not known whether reducing pulmonary and/or cardiovascular stress would impact performance. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of a HE on repeated sprint performance and physiological function during exercise in the cold.

    Methods
    Eight healthy, asymptomatic subjects (age range 21-28 yrs) volunteered to cycle four-35 kJ sprints separated by a 20 min seated rest period. Temperature was set at -9░C. Cycling workload was set at 4% of body weight. On one trial, subjects wore the HE during the rest periods and then removed it for the sprints. On the second trial, no intervention was used (NI). Pulmonary function was assessed before and after exercise, while heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) was collected at 16 min of each 20 min rest period. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) was calculated from systolic and diastolic BP.

    Results
    Times to complete the 3rd and 4th sprints were significantly faster with HE than NI, 132.9 ▒23.0 sec and 131.3 ▒21.7 sec vs. 139.8 ▒24.1 sec and 138.6 ▒23.6 sec. Systolic BP and MAP were significantly less and HR was greater during the 3rd and 4th rest periods for the HE trial compared to the NI trial. Subjects on the HE trial experienced increases of 3.7 ▒8.2% and 6.0 +6.1% in vital capacity and peak expiratory flow rate, but demonstrated significant decreases of 4.0 ▒2.5% and 4.0 ▒7.5% during the NI trial (p<.03). No differences were observed for diastolic BP, FEV1 or FEF25-75. A stepwise regression revealed that systolic BP, MAP, and vital capacity significantly predicted about 65% of variation in finishing times.

    Discussion/Conclusions
    Results indicate that inhalation of cold air resulted in decreased sprint performance, decreased pulmonary function, and increased cardiovascular stress during the NI trial. These negative responses to cold exposure were alleviated by the use of a HE worn during the rest intervals. It is presumed that the HE minimized cold-induced stress, and may have facilitated the recovery process, by minimizing the thermal and water losses through the respiratory system and maintaining cardiovascular function.

    References
    Deal, E.C., E.R. McFadden, R.H. Ingram, R.H. Strauss, J.J. Jaeger. Role of respiratory heat exchange in production of exercise-induced asthma. J Appl Physiol. 46(3):467-75, 1979.
    McFadden, E.R. Respiratory heat and water exchange: physiological and clinical implications. J Appl Physiol. 54(2):331-336, 1983.

    Acknowledgements
    To PolarWrap, Inc. for supporting this project
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  19. #19
    META Severian's Avatar
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    I do fine with a sugino face wrap. Even when it was down to 0F earlier this week my face was warm...

    My only beef is that none of the makers of balaclava face masks make one that is more like a burnoose (head cover with semi-detatchable face mask) because there are times when I'd like to, one handed, pull off my face mask and replace it, one handed. The one I have currently is its own piece and if I unvelcrow it I have to stash it some place or lose it.

    oh and Recursive: I'm sure EVERYONE asks you this but.. where did you get that helmet cover?

  20. #20
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    My trick is to pull the bala over my bottom lip, but not far up enough to cover my whole mouth and create steam or get overheated. If I need to breath through my mouth, I just overbite and suck warm air from under the bala. If I want fresh air, I underbite and suck air from above the bala.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline
    My trick is to pull the bala over my bottom lip, but not far up enough to cover my whole mouth and create steam or get overheated. If I need to breath through my mouth, I just overbite and suck warm air from under the bala. If I want fresh air, I underbite and suck air from above the bala.
    This is a good technique. It works until temps get in the teens and below. In that range I use an ear band that is worn over the nose. It never touches the mouth so it doesn't get wet, yet it forms somewhat of a roof over it so there is no direct exposure to the wind.

    I have tried other expensive alternatives but the fleece ear band worn over the nose/mouth is very cheap and very effective.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Joe1946's Avatar
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    Study results on polarwrap's website. Do you use the exchanger mask or full head cover? Prices?
    I use the Polar Wrap mask with Giro Ravine SC helmet and Uvex Supersonic S goggles. I purchased the Polar Wrap mask from Sierra Trading Post last year for about $19.

  23. #23
    Videre non videri
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    I feel restricted no matter what I put over my nose or mouth. But it doesn't matter much. I rarely feel cold in my face, as long as the rest of the body is relatively warm. I used to have problems with breathing cold air (got "cold asthma"), but since I started cycling, that problem has gone away completely.

  24. #24
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    I just read a Pez Cycling winter riding article that stated there was a study that indicated breathing cold air did not alter performance. I wonder which study is right?

    At the minimum, it might help cyclists with asthma and other breathing difficulties.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  25. #25
    Spazzy Member zippered's Avatar
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    MEC sells fleece bandanas... they've gone down in price since i bought mine, but you could also make your own if you're so inclined.

    easy to stash, easy to put on, easy to adjust, easy to wash after getting sweaty!

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