Do you hear that coughing sound? It's cold and flu season, and people all around you are coughing. Why?
"Coughing is a normal, protective reflex," says Neil Schachter, MD, author of The Good Doctor's Guide to Colds and Flu. "We cough to clear our airways," he explains.
Think of coughing as a defense mechanism designed to rid your lungs and windpipe of substances that don't belong there. In the case of colds, this intruder is usually mucus, which builds up more than the airways can comfortably...
Sometimes a cold causes swelling in the nose or lungs. That can lead to other problems, like these:
Sinus infection (sinusitis): This happens when a cold virus infects your sinuses -- the hollow areas in the bones of your cheeks, forehead, and under your eyes. These areas swell, and your body makes more mucus. It’s a perfect place for bacteria to grow and thrive. You may get a headache, fever, and some or all of these symptoms:
A severely stuffed up nose
Less sense of smell and taste
Thick yellow or green mucus
Pain or pressure near your sinuses that gets worse when you bend over
A cough that’s worse at night
See your doctor if these symptoms are severe, you still feel bad after 7 days, or if you get better and then get worse.