For people with breathing issues, cold and flu season can be painful

Lynne Adkins
February 25, 2020 - 4:00 am
A woman sick in bed.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For millions of Americans, breathing on any day can be a chore, but cold and flu season can make the process much more difficult. 

As the flu continues to be widespread in Pennsylvania, thousands are now suffering with the cough, nasal congestion and muscle aches. But people with breathing issues, including COPD — chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — can suffer even more. 

Dr. Gerard Criner, director of the Temple Lung Center, says when patients with COPD get a cold or the flu, it can increase the risk of a flare up of this chronic disease.

"If a patient is suffering cough, mucus production, and breathing and has risk factors — they're over the age of 40 and have smoked more than 10-pack years or work in a dirty dusty job or occupation like that — they should seek help," Criner said. 

He says there are plenty of treatments that can help, both medical and surgical. And while COPD affects nearly 16 million Americans, he says it can be managed.