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.
The H1N1 flu, commonly called swine flu, is expected to make many people
sick this flu season. And if you're one of them, you're in for some serious
at-home time, recovering and sparing other people from your germs. To make that
time a little easier on yourself, consider taking these 10 steps now, before
you come down with swine flu.
1. Make a backup plan. Let's say you get sick, or you need to take
care of someone with swine flu. What's your plan for missing
work, college, or
Asthma, a chronic lung disease, affects an estimated 25 million Americans. The common cold can worsen asthma symptoms, making it more difficult to breathe. In addition, certain medications, such as antihistamines, can thicken mucus, making it harder to cough up for those with asthma.
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.
Diabetes makes it more difficult to ward off cold viruses. In addition, colds add extra stress to the body, which can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Keeping blood sugar levels balanced is important for staying well with diabetes.
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.