The common cold makes most people feel miserable for a few days, but then goes away on its own. However, for people with chronic medical conditions, catching a cold is more likely to lead to serious health problems. Here's a look at some of those conditions and how they can be aggravated by a cold.
As a symptom of illness, sore throat rivals fatigue for being both commonplace and a potential sign of catastrophe. Usually, having a sore throat is nothing to worry about -- most are caused by cold and flu germs. In rare cases, however, a sore throat can signal something much more serious. One of the first symptoms of infection caused by the dreaded ebola virus, for example, is a sore throat.
And strep bacteria, a common cause of sore throat, especially in children, can spread like wildfire if...
For people with heart disease, catching a cold poses a potential danger. While the cold itself usually isn't a danger, cold complications such as lung infections make it difficult to take in oxygen as efficiently as a person should. This makes the heart work even harder to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. This extra demand on the heart can be quite serious for those with heart disease and colds.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis affect about 15 million adults in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control. Both medical conditions, which are usually caused by long-term smoking, are marked by obstruction to airflow that interferes with breathing. Symptoms of emphysema and chronic bronchitis worsen with the common cold.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) kills or damages cells in the body's immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections such as the cold virus. People with HIV/AIDS are also more likely to get cold complications such as pneumonia.