Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Select An Article

Colds and Chronic Medical Conditions

Font Size

For most folks, the misery of a cold is a short-term affair. Sure, you feel sneezy and drippy now, but you feel confident you'll be out of the woods a few days, maybe a few weeks at most. If you have an ongoing medical condition, though, you need to take extra precautions. Getting sick can make your health problems worse.


Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

What Is the Flu?

Worried about catching the flu? Want to learn some ways to prevent it? Then read on to learn more about influenza -- what it is, how it's spread, and who's at greatest risk for getting it. Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing flu!

Read the What Is the Flu? article > >


It's a "chronic," or long-term, lung disease that affects about 25 million Americans. If you have it, a cold can make your symptoms worse. You might find it harder to breathe.

Also, some medications, like antihistamines, can thicken mucus, making it harder to cough up when you have asthma.

For in-depth information, see Asthma and Colds.

Heart Disease

If you have complications from your cold, such as lung infections, it makes it hard to take in oxygen efficiently.

When that happens, your heart works even harder to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

For in-depth information, see Heart Disease and Colds.


It makes it harder for you to ward off a cold virus. Also, when you get sick, it adds extra stress to your body. This can affect your blood sugar levels, so it's important to take steps to keep them balanced.

For in-depth information, see Diabetes and Colds.

Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis affect about 15 million adults in the U.S. In both conditions, which are usually caused by long-term smoking, there's an airflow blockage that gets in the way of breathing.

The symptoms of both conditions get worse when you have a cold.

For in-depth information, see Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, and Colds.

HIV/AIDS and Colds

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, kills or damages cells in the immune system, your body's defense against germs. This makes it more difficult to fight infections like a cold. When you get sick, you're also more likely to get complications such as pneumonia.

For in-depth information, see HIV/AIDS and Colds.

Cold Prevention and Chronic Medical Conditions

It's sometimes hard to avoid catching a cold, but there steps you can take to cut your risk:

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat