Complications of the Common Cold with Chronic Illness
The common cold presents a variety of potential problems for folks with a chronic illness.
For those with asthma or COPD, it can trigger or exacerbate symptoms, while for those with multiple sclerosis, it can lead to a flare-up of other symptoms. Beyond that, any disruption to your wellness routine can trigger setbacks in managing your condition.
The most serious complication for those with a chronic illness, since they already have a compromised immune system, is developing viral pneumonia. For some forms, antiviral medications are available, but for others, there’s no treatment.
The good news is, there’s a vaccine available for those who might need it. Talk to your doctor about whether or not a pneumonia vaccine is right for you.
Symptoms of the Common Cold
If you have a chronic illness that makes you susceptible to complications of the common cold, call your doctor at the first sign of any of the following cold symptoms:
- headache, especially sinus
- fever 102 degrees or higher
- thick nasal discharge
- phlegm in your throat
- persistent cough
Proactive management and treatment of a cold may lessen the chance of complications.
How to Treat a Common Cold
Talk to your doctor to put together a specific plan for your own set of health concerns, but in general, the following methods can help manage cold symptoms:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), though these should be avoided for some health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or those on blood thinners.
- Nasal sprays can be a good option to loosen mucus and relieve congestion.
- Increased fluid intake, while never a bad idea, can help your body fight the cold virus. Water is best, but herbal (caffeine-free) teas and juices can be decent options too.
- Rest is probably your number one weapon in the battle against the common cold. Make getting at least 8 hours of sleep a priority, and limit your activity levels.