Year round, cold viruses make asthma worse. You can develop a strategy with your doctor to help prevent an attack during a cold. She knew that if her 10 year-old son, Daniel, were to get one, he would also have a severe asthma attack. She wanted him to receive antibiotics with each cold, asthma and common cold symptoms. The symptoms of an asthma attack during a cold are worsening asthma and common cold symptoms of breath, cough, wheezing or chest tightness or a combination of these.
Some episodes lead to breathing problems that may require a hospital stay. Even weeks after a cold is gone, symptoms of asthma can remain at an increased level, asthma and common cold symptoms.
With a new way to identify viruses, doctors are finding that most wheezing episodes in patients with asthma occur during viral, not bacterial, infections. Viruses often linked with wheezing include rhinovirus or common cold virus. Others are parainfluenza virus and influenza B virus. Bacteria are found in the lungs about as often during wheezing episodes as during times with no wheezing, according to Dr. Viruses, on the other hand, are found much more often when asthma becomes worse.
How do viruses affect asthma? Trigg explained that lung responsiveness increased colds, asthma and common cold symptoms. Peak flow meter readings also fluctuate greatly during colds. Even non-asthmatic people who are allergic to ragweed are more likely to have an asthmatic response after exposure to ragweed during a cold. Trigg believes respiratory viral infections play a role in causing asthma. Specifically, rhinovirus cold infections. Viruses promote inflammation in the lungs.
They promote even more inflammation in persons with allergies. Viruses damage lung cells, allowing foreign substances, including allergens, to enter. The viruses remove protective coverings and expose delicate nerve endings. The body responds by releasing inflammatory substances that can worsen asthma.
In a person who is already allergic, a viral infection can lead to increased allergy inflammationDr. This causes a more severe reaction and a greater risk of persistent symptoms. Vaccination reduces the ability of the virus in the vaccine to provoke asthma. She will start new asthma drugs or increase the dose of the regular asthma drugs or both. Asthma and common cold symptoms and the doctor will have early warning if asthma and common cold symptoms asthma is worsening.
Do you have a strategy to avoid asthma attacks during a cold or the flu? Now is the time to work with you doctor to develop one. If your asthma gets worse every time you get a cold or flu, work with your doctor to develop a strategy for dealing with your asthma attacks.
Have a written plan from your doctor that instructs you whether to add new medications or increase the dose of current medications at the first sign of a cold or flu. Use peak flow meter readings for early warning that signals your asthma is getting worse.
Call your doctor if your peak flow meter readings drop or your symptoms get worse. Get a flu shot every year. It can lessen the asthmatic response to the virus in the vaccine.