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"What should I do if my cold is affecting my breathing?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat should I do if my cold is affecting my breathing?


I'm so congested with a cold that I can't smell and I can't breath through my nose. How do I relieve the congestion? Why is it so bad?


I am sorry to hear that you are having so much discomfort from your cold. Unfortunately, even though most cold virus infections do not cause serious medical problems, the inflammation and nasal stuffiness that they provoke can be very uncomfortable, and the symptoms can last sometimes for more than 1 week. In addition to getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids, you should see your primary care doctor for more advice, especially if the symptoms do not start to clear up soon. Occasionally, a common cold infection can progress to a more serious problem, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or a sinus infection. Unlike the common cold, these infections may require additional treatments, including antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. You doctor will be able to perform a good physical examination and make a determination as to whether you have anything going on other than a common cold. Even if you just have a common cold, your doctor will also be able to recommend potential over the counter or prescription medications for helping to clear up the nasal congestion and giving you some relief while you wait for the cold to run its course. Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon.

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