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Asthma

Does Asthma Accompany Colds?

11/23/2009

Question:

Every time I get a cold I develop a wheezing on my lungs. My doctor said that it was bronchitis. I have had it four times in nine months. Now my doctor thinks that I might have asthma. But when I was at ER with a bad cough they told me that my lungs sounded clear and that I didn’t have asthma. My family doctor only listens to my lungs when I have this cough. Is there a type of asthma that only happens when a person gets a cold or am I just unlucky enough to get bronchitis with every cold I get?

Answer:

Some people have intermittent asthma which is most commonly triggered by viral infections involving the respiratory tract.  People with intermittent asthma show no signs of asthma when they are well but develop asthma symptoms when they are sick. 

People with intermittent asthma do not need to take daily "controller" medications for their asthma but generally need treatment when they are sick.  Intermittent asthma doesn't indicate you have "mild" asthma. Actually, you can develop very severe asthma symptoms when you are sick.  It is important to contact your provider at the start of respiratory symptoms so asthma treatment can be started.

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Response by:

Cathy   Benninger, RN, MS, APRN, C-AE Cathy Benninger, RN, MS, APRN, C-AE
Clinical Assistant Professor
Director, OSU Asthma Center Educational Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University