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Thread: Can cold air really choke someone to death?

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I've been in 120 mph of -34F wind. No face protection. I didn't die.
    120 mph with an air temp of -34 F with no face protection? You are very lucky person or did you lose your face to frost bite!

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I've been in 120mph of -34F wind. No face protection. I didn't die.
    That . . . . seems unlikely. 120mph is exponentially faster and colder than 0 degrees F at 50mph. Wait, did you have a skin craft after?

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    I've been in 120mph of -34F wind. No face protection. I didn't die.

    For how long, and what was the ambient temperature at the time?

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaiaGirl95 View Post
    For how long, and what was the ambient temperature at the time?
    About five minutes. The ambient temperature was -34F; windspeed 120mph, altitude 23,000 feet.

    A former girlfriend of mine spent days at a time breathing air at about -25C. Her story is here if you want to read it:

    http://www.amazon.com/K2-Adventure-P.../dp/079226424X

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by origin View Post
    120 mph with an air temp of -34 F with no face protection? You are very lucky person or did you lose your face to frost bite!
    Felt like that for a while afterwards - but no one was injured, mainly due to the short duration. It was during the 2002 world record attempts in Eloy, Arizona. We went to 23,000 feet early in the morning for our first attempt at the day. (It was in January.) It was -34F at exit. I exited the plane, breathed in, breathed out and - my visor iced over completely. I had to pull the visor out of the helmet to be able to see to continue the dive, and it felt like someone was going at my face with a belt sander. Within 5 minutes we had descended to a more reasonable temperature of about 20F at 3000 feet.

    About 100 people on the dive had a similar problem, and either opened their visor, took it off completely or took off their helmets. We switched to all goggles after that, which was a lot more painful but which were less likely to ice over. That was the worst day; most days exit temps were -10 to -15F.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by GaiaGirl95 View Post
    Well why don't you step out in weather below -2 F for an hour or so without protecting your airways from the cold, and report back.
    You know, if GaiaGirl95 was a person who rationally believed the claim that the thymus swells up in cold or sudden fright with the potential to choke a person, this would be tantamount to a request that I attempt to kill myself. Fortunately, I merely consider GaiaGirl95 an irrational, ignorant denialist troll and not a murderess.

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Felt like that for a while afterwards - but no one was injured, mainly due to the short duration. It was during the 2002 world record attempts in Eloy, Arizona. We went to 23,000 feet early in the morning for our first attempt at the day. (It was in January.) It was -34F at exit. I exited the plane, breathed in, breathed out and - my visor iced over completely. I had to pull the visor out of the helmet to be able to see to continue the dive, and it felt like someone was going at my face with a belt sander. Within 5 minutes we had descended to a more reasonable temperature of about 20F at 3000 feet.

    About 100 people on the dive had a similar problem, and either opened their visor, took it off completely or took off their helmets. We switched to all goggles after that, which was a lot more painful but which were less likely to ice over. That was the worst day; most days exit temps were -10 to -15F.
    I always considered people who jump out of planes for fun to be crazy. Doing it in January is crazierest.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by origin View Post
    I always considered people who jump out of planes for fun to be crazy. Doing it in January is crazierest.
    I often thought that during those two weeks . . . .

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Felt like that for a while afterwards - but no one was injured, mainly due to the short duration. It was during the 2002 world record attempts in Eloy, Arizona. We went to 23,000 feet early in the morning for our first attempt at the day. (It was in January.) It was -34F at exit. I exited the plane, breathed in, breathed out and - my visor iced over completely. I had to pull the visor out of the helmet to be able to see to continue the dive, and it felt like someone was going at my face with a belt sander. Within 5 minutes we had descended to a more reasonable temperature of about 20F at 3000 feet.

    About 100 people on the dive had a similar problem, and either opened their visor, took it off completely or took off their helmets. We switched to all goggles after that, which was a lot more painful but which were less likely to ice over. That was the worst day; most days exit temps were -10 to -15F.
    5 minutes really isn't long. The article implies the man who died was out to do chores, so it was longer than 5 minutes.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaiaGirl95 View Post
    The article implies the man who died was out to do chores, so it was longer than 5 minutes.
    So go with my former girlfriend, who spent days breathing air at -25C during her Himalayan climbs. Neither her nor any of her expedition died due to their throats swelling up.

  11. #71
    It is possible to go into respiratory arrest from cold air but it doesn't have to be exceptionally cold, person just has to have asthma induced by cold air and the air just has to be cold enough to trigger it, doesn't even have to be below 0 for this. If its treated properly however it shouldn't kill you

  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by GaiaGirl95 View Post
    5 minutes really isn't long. The article implies the man who died was out to do chores, so it was longer than 5 minutes.
    You don't have an articulated hypothesis, so your post hoc dismissal of some evidence as "not good enough" lacks persuasive power. There is no documentation of the farmer's exposure time to cold and you ignore the non-death football players, coaches, and fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asguard View Post
    It is possible to go into respiratory arrest from cold air but it doesn't have to be exceptionally cold, person just has to have asthma induced by cold air and the air just has to be cold enough to trigger it, doesn't even have to be below 0 for this. If its treated properly however it shouldn't kill you
    But the mechanism of asthma is bronchoconstriction, not thymic swelling.

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post

    But the mechanism of asthma is bronchoconstriction, not thymic swelling.
    Yes, I didn't mean to say that whats been pushed in this thread is right, just pointing out that yes people could die because of respiratory failure when exposed to cold air

  14. #74
    But can extreme cold (below -2F degrees, by definition) cause thymus swelling?

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by GaiaGirl95 View Post
    But can extreme cold (below -2F degrees, by definition) cause thymus swelling?
    Actual medical textbooks from this century, like "Thymus Gland Pathology: Clinical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Features" say no. They explain the structure and known functions of the thymus is great detail. Swelling in reaction to fear or cold (or hot, or ingestion of cheese, or web surfing, etc.) is nowhere found. Some things that will cause the thymus to enlarge over time (days, not minutes) are cancer (duh), sarcoidosis and steroid administration. Normal thymuses of up to 50 grams are not unheard of.
    Old ideas about thymuses killing people seem to be completely wrong:
    At last, in 1945, in the first edition of “Paediatric X-Ray Diagnosis,” the American radiologist John Caffey confirmed that “... a causual relationship between hyperplasia of the thymus and sudden unexplained death has been completely refuted... Irradiation of the thymus ... is an irrational procedure at all ages
    (page 9)

  16. #76
    Well rpenner, that should put and end to this; and yet I fear it may not...

  17. #77
    Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    I have a friend who lives in the Yukon...where it regularly gets to -40f. She raises horses, and spends quite a bit of time in the cold, feeding the horses..pitching hay...etc. She's still alive and kicking.

  18. #78

    Cool




    Try breathing now Han Solo.

    The flaw in the OP is they make no reference to how long the person was exposed to sub zero temperatures. Temperatures do not even need to be freezing to kill people if exposure is ample enough.

    I see lots of arguments, but without knowing the time involved it is a pointless thread.

    Despite arguments above, cooling of the airways can cause broncho-constriction or more likely damage your lungs and can also cause asthma.

    Also...

    http://www.snowbikers.com/articles/cold_air.html
    Larsson K, Ohlsen P, Larsson L, Malmberg P, Rydstrom P-O, Ulriksen H 1993. High
    prevalence of asthma in cross country skiers. BMJ 307, 1326-1329.

    Larsson L, Hemmingsson P, Boethius G 1994. Self reported obstructive airway symptoms are common in young cross-country skiers. Scand J Med Sci Sport 4, 124-127

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174348
    On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
    Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
    If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;

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