- Understanding COPD
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Quiz
- Energizing COPD Diet Foods
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
- What is emphysema and chronic bronchitis?
- What happens with emphysema and chronic bronchitis and colds?
- Why should I take colds seriously with emphysema or chronic bronchitis?
- Which cold treatment should I use with emphysema or chronic bronchitis?
- Can I prevent colds if I have emphysema or chronic bronchitis?
Quick GuideBronchitis Pictures Slideshow
What happens with emphysema and chronic bronchitis and colds?
A cold is a viral respiratory illness that mainly affects your nose and throat but in some instances can affect your airways. When you have emphysema or chronic bronchitis, you already have some difficulty breathing because of the damaged airways and lungs. Catching a respiratory virus along with COPD can hinder breathing even more and can cause the following changes in your symptoms:
- An increase in phlegm
- An increase in the thickness or stickiness of the
- A change in phlegm color to yellow or green
- A presence of blood in the phlegm
- An increase in the severity of
shortness of breath, cough, or wheezing
- A general feeling of ill health
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased fatigue
Why should I take colds seriously with emphysema or chronic bronchitis?
Catching a cold with emphysema or chronic bronchitis may also lead to bacterial infections such as pneumonia. This occurs because of the airway obstruction and the inability to cough out infected secretions of mucus.
Sometimes, patients with COPD are hospitalized because of a respiratory infection and the worsening of their symptoms. Treatment may include inhaled medications, oxygen, and antibiotics to treat any bacterial infection. Antibiotics do not treat a cold.
To avoid more serious problems with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and colds, it's important to always alert your doctor if your cold symptoms get worse. Don't wait until you have more serious breathing problems to contact your doctor.