Recognizing and treating common cold-induced injury in outdoor sports

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SALLIS, R. and C. M. CHASSAY. Recognizing and treating common cold-induced injury in outdoor sports. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 10, pp. 1367–1373, 1999. We briefly review the physiology of cold exposure, the spectrum and prevention of common cold-induced injuries (especially in athletes participating in outdoor sports), and the potentially harmful side effects of localized cryotherapy. Severe cold affects all organ systems and especially the central nervous and cardiovascular systems; many biochemical reactions and pathways become distorted or slowed at low body core temperatures and can thus affect athletic performance. Low body shell temperature, too, can interfere with athletic ability by weakening and slowing muscle contractions, by delaying nerve conduction time, and by facilitating injury. Cold-induced injuries may be local or systemic, but they can usually be prevented by knowledge, good physical condition, appropriate nutrition and equipment, and avoidance of moisture.

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