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Asthma and Colds

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What Are the Symptoms of a Cold?

Cold symptoms often begin with throat discomfort or sore throat. That discomfort is followed by clear, watery nasal discharge; sneezing; fatigue; and sometimes a slight fever. Postnasal drip from your nose and sinuses can causes you to have a cough.

For the first few days of a cold, your nose is filled with watery nasal secretions. These secretions may become thicker and darker. Dark mucus does not necessarily mean that you have developed a bacterial infection.

What Symptoms Indicate I May Have a More Serious Infection?

Call your doctor if you experience any of these signs:

  • Fever (with a temperature over 101° F) or chills
  • Increased fatigue or weakness
  • A very sore throat or pain when swallowing
  • Sinus headaches, upper toothaches, or tenderness or pain of the upper cheekbones
  • Coughing up greater amounts of yellow- or green-colored mucus

Also call your doctor if you have any other symptoms that cause concern, such as the following:

  • Increased shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or wheezing
  • Symptoms getting worse after seven days
  • Symptoms remaining unchanged or getting worse after 10 days
  • Eye pain or swelling and/or vision changes
  • Severe head or facial pain or swelling

How Can I Prevent Colds if I Have Asthma?

Good hygiene can decrease viral infections such as colds. Prevent the spread of cold viruses by making sure you and your family members wash your hands regularly.

Another way to protect yourself is to get a flu vaccine every year. Like colds, the flu is caused by a virus and can trigger asthma problems.

What Can I Do When Asthma Symptoms Get Worse With Colds?

Ask your doctor for a written asthma action plan during your next visit. This plan may suggest that you increase the dosage or frequency of the medications that you already take when a cold causes your asthma to worsen. Your plan will specify when symptoms warrant a call to your doctor. In addition, you should eliminate or avoid environmental factors that may be contributing to the asthma attack such as smoke, allergens, cold air, or chemicals.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 03, 2014
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