The official blog of the Lung Institute.
You wake up sneezing, coughing and have that achy, feverish, can’t move a muscle feeling all over your body. You know that flu season has arrived…. Pretty much everyone dreads this time of the year. Seasonal flu and colds spread between people like wildfire, causing many to get sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013 was one of the worst flu seasons in years. In the United States, flu and cold cases saw an increase of almost 26 percent from the previous year. If you are diagnosed with a lung disease such as, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis or pulmonary fibrosis, you probably already know the impact that a cold or the flu can have on you. While everyone has different treatments for a cold or the flu, people with lung disease have to be especially aware of the best course of action to feeling better. So, we’ve compiled some helpful tips to managing a cold or the flu with lung disease!
Tips to Managing a Cold or the Flu with Lung Disease
When you have a lung disease, like COPD, and you get a cold or the flu, your normal symptoms such as coughing, excess mucus production and shortness of breath will all worsen. Added to these symptoms, people tend to experience a fever, muscle aches, headache and a sore throat. In some cases, hospitalization may be required to keep your symptoms under control. Here are some tips to help with a cold or the flu while managing your lung disease:
It’s a great idea for people with lung disease to take action to prevent the flu. Try to avoid crowds during the cold and flu season and wash your hand frequently. Also, talk to your doctor about getting a yearly flu shot. Flu shots are about 70 to 90 percent effective in protecting you against the flu. If you live with anyone else, they should also get a flu shot as well. Be sure to keep up with your regular medicines for your lung disease, as this well help manage symptoms that might arise from getting a cold or the flu.
If You Get Sick
If you actually develop the flu or cold, don’t mess around. Call your doctor immediately. Antiviral medication might be prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of a cold or the flu. It’s important to stay on your prescribed lung disease medications, such as bronchodilators or inhaled steroids. Also, check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter flu treatment. If your doctor approves, you might treat the body aches and fever associated with flu with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Getting plenty of rest is also recommended to help recover faster. Staying in a relaxed environment will help keep your breathing under control.
When you start to feel better from your cold or flu, try to get back into your normal routine. Exercise and a healthy diet will help your breathing to improve and bounce back from the sickness. It’s important to keep up with your lung disease medication and visit your doctor often if you have any questions. If you suffer from a lung disease and have questions about the cold and flu season, do some research and talk with your doctor! If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COPD and want to learn more about treatment options, please contact us or call (800) 729-3065 today.