Spring is often seen as a season of rebirth. The cold of winter passes and the grass begins to green up and grow again. In the office at this time of the year I see and hear about the same symptoms and complaints. The only thing comforting is that it seems to be the same set of issues each year.
Almost 90% of the patients coming in for their spring appointments are complaining of some increased cough, often with nasal congestion, and some with sinus pain. These symptoms are most often related to wide swings in air temperature and humidity which are often seen in the spring. There are morning temperatures in the 40ʼs and daytime temperatures in the 70ʼs. These wide swings often prompt increased mucous production in the lining of our nasal cavities producing a characteristic post nasal drip cough. This cough is associated with throat clearing and a sensation that there is something in the back of the throat that needs to be swallowed.
Patients will often complain of noticing more shortness of breath with activity in the spring. This complaint is often due to poor physical conditioning which has resulted from a long winter indoors with limited activity. Winter deconditioning is common especially in older patients. Several months without regular activity causes muscle weakness and this deconditioning translates into a sensation of shortness of breath.
Most of the above problems will resolve with more time and better weather. However, if these problems are worsening, you should seek attention.