Dealing with Inevitable Chest Infections During Cold and Flu Season

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by Kala Godin |

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At the beginning of November, I got sick. It was inevitable, though I had received a flu shot and we were careful. Sometimes you just get a little unlucky.

Usually when this happens, I give it a couple of days to see how I’m doing. If I can tell that I won’t get better by myself, I call my doctor. I describe my symptoms to her, and she prescribes medications. She knows that going to the hospital is often worse for my health. This time, though, I had a hard time getting hold of her. 

So into the local hospital I went. I had a bronchial infection that was starting to drain into my upper lung — the beginning of pneumonia. I got some meds and scuttled back home where it was warm and the air wasn’t full of gross germs. 

A relatively easy situation, though it would have been easier if I could have gotten in contact with my doctor and avoided the hospital. It could have been worse; thank God it wasn’t. But it could have been. I can get chronic pneumonia that can lead to collapsed lungs incredibly quickly. A typical cold can turn into full-blown double pneumonia in a matter of hours — the same with collapsed lungs. 

Since graduating high school four or five years ago, I get sick less often. That’s great — no one likes being sick. And, what can I say? I like being able to breathe.

I almost always picked up something when I was at school. It was nearly impossible to avoid illness during cold and flu season. You can only prevent so much. My sister still attends school, so if she catches anything, she doesn’t help with some elements of my care. 

It’s easier to avoid catching viruses and recover from illness when I’m at home. Car rides are good therapy to loosen mucus. As long as my mom is home from work, we can just hop in the vehicle. And I always have someone around to do percussion lung therapy

What was sometimes a monthlong illness, usually resulting in hospitalization, can be handled in half the time.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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