For people living with emphysema, chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cold air may worsen symptoms. That is because breathing in cold, dry air causes the airways to narrow, therefore restricting airflow in and out of the lungs and making it more difficult to breath. However, these symptoms can be reduced. According to an online news story from the Mayo Clinic, a number of steps can be taken to reduce the effect of cold air on breathing.
For example, wearing a cold-air face mask when you are outside can protect you from the cold air. Breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth can also help humidify the air before it enters your lungs. Using a humidifier when at home is also a good option. Finally, by using your bronchodilator 30 minutes before going outside you will open constricted airways and prepare your lungs for the cold.