The Difference In Asthma And Common Cold Symptoms
Its best to start with what symptoms are not caused by asthma. Asthma doesnt cause fever, chills, achy muscles, or sore throat, so any one of these is cause for concern as they indicate something else is going on and are a good sign you should see a doctor. If you or your child experience these symptoms dont write them off as asthma. They could be the sign of a serious respiratory infection.
On the other hand, typical asthma symptoms are frequent or chronic coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a tight feeling in your chest. If youre experiencing any of these, or you have a loved one who is, a doctor visit may be in order to rule out chronic asthma. These symptoms may feel like the start of a cold, or even the flu, but its important that asthma sufferers understand and recognize the difference in order to get proper treatment. Its also important to be able to differentiate between something like seasonal allergies and the common cold, as allergens can greatly increase your risk of an asthma attack.
Why Does Cold Air Affect Asthma Symptoms
Cold air triggers asthma symptoms for different reasons:
Cold air is dry. When you breathe in dry air, the fluid lining your airways evaporates faster than it can be replaced. This friction creates irritation and swelling in your airways, which worsens asthma symptoms. Cold air also causes your airways to produce histamine, a chemical produced in your body as a defense mechanism to allergy attack.
Cold air increases mucus. Your airways are lined with a layer of protective mucus. In cold, dry weather, your body produces more mucus than normal. The extra mucus makes you more susceptible to catching a cold or other infections.
Cold air drives you indoors. Colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections circulate more frequently during weather changes and cold weather. These infections often set off asthma symptoms.
Cold air can also drive you indoors, where dust, mold and allergy triggers live. These allergens set off asthma symptoms, as well.
How Do I Know If Other Medicines Im Taking Are Making My Asthma Worse
Any medicine can cause wheezing or shortness of breath if youre allergic to it. If you notice that your asthma gets worse every time you take a certain medicine, tell your doctor as soon as possible. If you use a peak flow meter to check your asthma, tell your doctor if you see changes in your peak flow readings after you take a certain medicine. Your doctor can decide whether your medicine should be changed.
Recommended Reading: How To Calm Asthma Without Inhaler
What Helps Asthma When You Are Sick
There are no treatments specifically for viral-induced asthma symptoms, but there are a number of treatments that can alleviate cough, chest tightness, and wheezing. The best way to manage asthma is prevention and long-term control that stops attacks before they happen.
First, develop an asthma action plan with your healthcare provider before you get sick. This is a very specific document that is based on your numbers when you breath into a peak flow meter and symptoms. There are three zones: green, yellow, and red.
Each zone should have corresponding medications that are recommended to help control your asthma. Frequently being in the yellow or red zone is a sign of severe asthma, Dr. Poinsett says.
Eat Slow Wait 20 Minutes
Your brain takes some time to process the fact that youve had enough to eat. Eating quickly means you dont realize youre full until well after youve hit that point, typically resulting in overeating.
Try slowing down. Eat a reasonable serving of food. Then, wait at least 20 minutes and drink a glass of water. Often, youll find yourself feeling full once that break is up.
You May Like: Can A Humidifier Help With Asthma
Can I Take Antihistamines For My Allergies
Antihistamines are usually safe for people who have asthma to use, but they can cause side effects. Some antihistamines cant be taken with certain other medicines. Like any other medicine, read the warnings and instructions on the label and check with your doctor before you start taking an antihistamine.
Cold Weather And Asthma
Cold weather is a common trigger for asthma symptoms.
There are things you can do to help control your symptoms in the cold:
- carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times and keep taking your regular preventer inhaler as prescribed
- if you need to use your inhaler more than usual, speak to your doctor about reviewing your treatment
- keep warm and dry wear gloves, a scarf and a hat, and carry an umbrella
- wrap a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth this will help warm up the air before you breathe it
- try breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth your nose warms the air as you breathe
Also Check: Can Asthma Make You Nauseous
Identifying An Asthma Cough
The purpose of a cough is to remove foreign particles and bacteria to prevent a possible infection. There are two types of coughs: productive and nonproductive. When a cough is productive, it means that a noticeable amount of phlegm expelled. This enables the lungs to get rid of harmful substances.
Coughing in people with asthma can be helpful because its one of the bodys natural defense mechanisms. A productive asthmatic cough will expel phlegm and mucus from the lungs. In most cases of asthma, the cough is considered nonproductive. A nonproductive cough is a dry cough. Its a response to an irritant that forces the bronchial tubes to spasm . Swelling and constriction of the airways, which prompts this type of nonproductive cough, characterize asthma.
An asthma cough is also often accompanied by wheezing. This is a high-pitched whistling sound caused by a constricted airway.
Does Your Asthma Seem Worse The Colder It Gets Experts Explain Why That Might Happen
When the scorching temperatures of summer begin to fade, it seems like everyone wants to be outside. Picnics in the park, drinks on the patio, morning jogs it all feels so nice! But as those early-fall days give way to crisp or even brutally cold temperatures, you might face another barrier to spending time outdoors, especially during your workouts. Those biting winds can be hard on your lungs! In fact, cold air may actually trigger asthma for those who are prone.
Don’t Miss: What Happens If You Smoke Weed With Asthma
How To Stop Asthma Cough
This article was co-authored by Shaun Berger, MD. Dr. Shaun Berger is a board certified Pediatrician based in the San Diego, California metro area. Dr. Berger provides comprehensive primary care for newborns, children, and adolescents, focusing on preventive medicine. Dr. Berger earned a BA in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and an MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Berger then completed a residency at the UCSF/Fresno Community Medical Centers/Valley Childrens Hospital where he was elected Chief Resident. He has been awarded the UCSF Foundation Award and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 76,283 times.
Many people are familiar with common asthma symptoms like tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. Coughing is another troublesome symptom of asthma, the inflammatory lung disease which narrows the breathing airways. To stop an asthma-related cough, identify and avoid your triggers, take medication to treat your asthma, and make yourself comfortable.
Causes Of Summer Asthma Symptoms
Although asthma symptoms tend to be most common in fall and winter, summer presents some unique risks.
Heat: The mere fact that you have asthma means your lungs are especially sensitive to extreme heat, and so breathing in hot air can aggravate your airways and trigger symptoms. Whats more, if you become dehydrated, you will naturally breathe more rapidly than normal, which also can play a role in setting off symptoms.
Humidity:Humid air is heavy air, and so its harder to breathe, especially when its also hot. In addition, moist air traps lung irritants such as pollen, mold, and, indoors, dust mites.
Ozone:Ozone is a product of atmospheric chemicals and sunlight. Although somewhat controversial, some researchers believe this pollutant can exacerbate asthma, based on studies that show lung function worsens in the days after ozone levels peak, affecting people with asthma and even people without it.
Summer Allergens:If you have allergic asthma and are triggered by certain allergens that are especially prevalent in June, July, and August, it stands to reason youre more likely to have asthma attacks during those months.
- : Tree pollen high
- May through early June: Grass pollen high
- : Outdoor mold spores peak, then decrease after the first frost
- : Weed pollen high
Recommended Reading: Allergy-induced Asthma Cough
Cold And Asthma Treatments
There are a variety of products available over-the-counter or on the internet that claim to help prevent or reduce the severity of a cold. Some of these products can interact with your asthma medications or make your asthma symptoms worse. Plus, the safety and effectiveness of many of these products is still not clear. Always check with your doctor first before taking any supplements or over-the-counter medications or products to prevent or treat your cold.
If you have a cold, whether or not you have asthma, it may help you to:
Drink extra fluids
Eat soup, such as chicken soup, to break up congestion and provide easy-to-digest nutrients and fluids
Get extra rest and sleep
Take acetaminophen for , , and body
If you have a child under the age of six, you should not give them cold or medications because of the risk of serious side effects. In addition, you should not use aspirin or products that contain aspirin because of the risk of developing a rare, life-threatening condition called . Reye syndrome has been linked to taking aspirin during a viral illness, such as a cold or flu.
If you suffer from asthma and develop a cold, tell your doctor if your asthma symptoms get worse or are more difficult to control. Your doctor can adjust your asthma treatment and start treatment for complications if needed.
What Causes Asthma Symptoms To Flare Up
Your asthma can flare up for different reasons. If youre allergic to dust mites, pollens or molds, they can make your asthma symptoms get worse. Cold air, exercise, fumes from chemicals or perfume, tobacco or wood smoke, and weather changes can also make asthma symptoms worse. So can common colds and sinus infections. Gastroesophageal reflux can also cause flare-ups. You can help yourself by paying attention to the way these things affect your asthma. Your doctor might test you to find out if youre allergic to something. Then your doctor can help you avoid the things that bother your asthma.
Recommended Reading: Define Asthma Exacerbation
What If I Forget To Take It
If you are prescribed ibuprofen as a regular medicine and forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If its almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
Never take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
So What Are The Symptoms You Should Watch Out For
Which signs of asthma you might experience differs from person to person and some are more common than others, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells SELF. Its possible that youll have such a mild reaction to one of your personal asthma triggers that you dont take much note of it. But if the effects get worse, they can turn into an asthma attack, which is a potentially life-threatening exacerbation of asthma symptoms. Thats why its so important to know the common signs of asthma, including the more subtle ones.
These are classic asthma signs you should know:
Shortness of breath: This is an obvious complication that happens when you cant get enough oxygen due to the way your airways and their surrounding muscles are reacting to asthma triggers, Sadia Benzaquen, M.D., a pulmonologist and associate professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells SELF.
Cough: When an irritant gets into your throat or airways, it stimulates nerves that prompt your brain to make the muscles in your chest and abdomen expel air from your lungs with a cough, according to the Mayo Clinic. Since a sensitivity to irritants can cause asthma symptoms, coughing is a hallmark sign of this condition, says Dr. Benzaquen. In fact, its the most common sign of asthma Dr. Parikh has seen people ignore.
Some people may have these less common signs of asthma:
Don’t Miss: Does Ibuprofen Make Asthma Worse
The Myth Of Milk And Mucus: Coughs Colds And Asthma
Does drinking milk cause you to produce more mucus and make conditions like coughs, colds, and asthma worse? Surprisingly, the answer is both yes and noand largely the answer depends on whether you personally believe it does or not.
It seems to be well known that drinking milk will make you more “stuffed up.” Drink milk when you have a cold, they say, and youll be blowing your nose all day and night. Worse, itll stop you getting rid of that chest infection thats been plaguing you for weeks. And if youve ever suffered from asthma, forget it. Milk, for you, is definitely off the menu.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of An Asthma Attack If I Have A Cold Or The Flu
1. If youve got a preventer inhaler, take it every day, as prescribed. This helps to control inflammation in your lungs, which reduces the risk of having an asthma attack. Learn how to improve your inhaler technique through our short videos.
2. Carry your reliever inhaler with you – its usually blue. See your GP, pharmacist or asthma nurse if you:
- need to take your reliever inhaler three or more times a week
- have asthma symptoms three or more times a week
- wake up one night a week because of your asthma symptoms.
3. Keep your medicines close, so you can reach them if you’re ill in bed – you still need to take your preventer inhaler as prescribed.
4. Don’t ignore your symptoms, especially if you feel breathless or wheezy – you might think it’s ‘just a cold’, but remember it could trigger a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
5. Rest at home. Take paracetamol for aches and pains and drink lots of water to avoid getting dehydrated. Flu especially can really wipe you out, so dont try to do too much too soon.
Recommended Reading: Can I Join The Military With Asthma
Weather Changes And Asthma
Often a change in the weather, rather than a certain temperature, can act as an asthma trigger.
Spring and autumn, in particular, are times when many people find their asthma symptoms get worse.
Winter can also be a troublesome time for people with asthma however this is often due to colds and flu rather the weather itself.
What to do if you think the weather may affect your asthma:
- Take extra care to take your medication as prescribed throughout the seasons you find affect you.
- Take your usual dose of reliever inhaler before going out on cold, dry days.
- Wear a scarf over your face if its cold and windy. This will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
- Try to avoid going out in the middle of the day on hot, smoggy days.
What Precautions Should People With Asthma Take
Make sure your asthma is under control before winter arrives. See your doctor to develop an asthma action plan and then take the medicines your doctor prescribes. You may take medicine every day or just when you need it .
Long-term controller medicines are drugs you take every day to manage your asthma symptoms. They include:
- inhaled corticosteroids, such as fluticasone
- long-acting beta-agonists, such as salmeterol
- leukotriene modifiers, such as montelukast
Note: Long-acting beta-agonists are always used alongside inhaled corticosteroids.
Quick-relief medicines are drugs that you only take when you need them, such as before exercising in the cold. Short-acting bronchodilators and anticholinergics are examples of these drugs.
You May Like: What Is Laughter Induced Asthma
All These Claims Are False
The Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland said a WhatsApp message circulating about coronavirus patients in Cork is a fake message, asking anyone who receives it to ignore and delete.
Toulouse University Hospital warned that inaccurate information was circulating on social networks, saying it would not have discussed the care of patients due to medical confidentiality.