Nasal mucosal temperature after exposure to cold, dry air and hot, humid air

Acta Otolaryngol. 2003 Sep;123(7):851-6. doi: 10.1080/00016480310000601a.


Objective: To determine the influence of variations in the temperature and humidity of inhaled air on the nasal mucosal temperature at various sites in the nasal airways.

Material and methods: Fifteen volunteers were enrolled in the study. The temperature was measured on the mucosal surface of the nasal septum at the level of the nasal vestibule, in the nasal valve area, anterior turbinate area and choanae. Temperature measurements were made using a miniaturized thermocouple. Continuous temperature readings were performed before and after 10 min of exposure to either cold, dry air, ambient air or hot, humid air.

Results: Inhalation of cold, dry air significantly reduced the temperature of the septal mucosa at each location of measurement compared to the breathing of ambient air. Inhalation of hot, humid air significantly increased the septal mucosal temperature at all detection sites

Conclusions: The climatic condition of inhaled air can lead to significant changes in nasal mucosal temperature. As the nasal mucosa is important for nasal air conditioning, short-term exposure to air of extreme temperature and humidity can rapidly compromise nasal air conditioning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Conditioning
  • Air*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Inhalation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Nasal Mucosa / physiology*
  • Temperature*