The first time I cross-country ski each year, my lungs revolt in the form of tightness while skiing and coughing afterwards. I have allergies and have had pneumonia a couple times in the past. I think my lungs just don’t like the stress of breathing in all that cold air while I am working hard skiing. I guess you could call it exercise asthma, but does it count as asthma if it only happens once per year?
This year, among the “joys” of the pandemic (she said sarcastically), I realized that my lungs did not seem to be adjusting to cross-country skiing. I was coughing afterward every time, not just the first time. And I’ve been skiing a lot this year since the snow conditions and temps have been good.
So, it was with interest that I watched a TV news story about a local lady who is the U.S. distributor for Lungplus, a mouth-worn humidity and heat exchanger you can use while skiing to make your lungs happier.
I want happy lungs, so I ordered the Lungplus Sport ($50), which is for use with high-intensity activities like cross-country skiing.
As I took it out of the package, I was pleasantly surprised by how small it was – it had looked larger on the people using it on TV. It comes with a long piece of embroidery string that you can use to hang it around your neck, so don’t throw it away like I almost did!
The device works by trapping the heat and humidity of your breath inside an aluminum mesh as you breath out. When you breathe in, the air passes through the mesh, which is already warmed and humidified, and makes lungs happy.
I did a test-ski recently and am here to report that my lungs were about 80% happier. I still had a little tightness and coughing, but nowhere near as much as usual. Another pleasant surprise was how light and easy to use the Lungplus was. You just stick it in your mouth in the space between your lips and teeth. Yes, you look like a dork doing this, but hey, it’s worth it to breathe easy.
Excess condensation collects inside it. The Lungplus lady says the embroidery string will catch the “drool” so it doesn’t end up on your chest, or you can blow out the water or suck it in and swallow. That last suggestion grossed me out, but that’s what I ended up doing. The condensation seemed to naturally collect in my mouth, so swallowing it was really no big deal.
The string is also handy if you want to remove the device. You can just take the Lungplus out and it will hang like some space-age necklace pendant around your neck, handy for when you want to put it back in.
Besides allowing me to breathe easier, I found the Lungplus had the side benefit of discouraging conversation by passing skiers. This is handy for introverts. Nobody wants to talk to someone with a strange white gadget sticking out of their mouth.
Lungplus is easy to clean. Just rinse it with warm water or stick it in the dishwasher.
So, I’m here to say that it works! And no, I have not been paid to say this.