The cold is called “common” for a reason. Approximately 22 million school days are lost each year in the U.S. due to the illness, according to the CDC, and about 100 different viruses can cause it. Both cold and flu are contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract that make you cough and give you headache.
About 5 to 20 percent of people in the U.S. come down with the flu, usually in the winter between October and March.
People who have asthma need to be even more careful. The common cold or flu trigger an asthma attack the same way they can cause inflammation in your nose and sinuses, Dr. Parikh adds. “It can also go into your chest and cause congestion and inflammation there causing asthma symptoms.” The nose and lungs are connected by one airway so it is not uncommon for the congestion to travel into your chest.
The infections are a common cause for asthma flare-ups because both are very common. “Influenza affects about 10-20 percent of the adult population yearly, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, she adds.