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Cycling With a Chest Cold

By Julie Boehlke

If you are suffering from a chest cold, it's important to care of yourself and wait out the healing process. If you are an avid cycler, you might not let a chest cold hold you back from wanting to get in some physical activity. A chest cold could be a short-lived virus that comes and goes quickly with no problem, or it could develop into a serious medical issue that needs to be addressed.

Significance

Most people try to get plenty of rest if they are suffering from a chest cold or flu. Taking it easy is one of the best things you can do to help speed up recovery and start feeling better soon. If part of your daily routine involves cycling, you may choose to still get out and cycle, despite feeling poorly. Because your immune system is compromised, you may find yourself becoming weak or more tired than usual. Your body could resist the physical exercise and force you to shut down or rest. A chest cold already makes breathing difficult; using your lungs in excess could complicate your symptoms or make them worse.

Symptoms

When the common cold begins to settle into the chest, it can be referred to as bronchitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of bronchitis include cough, soreness or pain in the chest, body ache, headache, sore throat, fever, runny nose and watery eyes. If you are cycling with a chest cold, symptoms of a chest cold can worsen.

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Precautions

Take precautions if cycling with a chest cold. Make sure not to overheat your body, especially if you have a fever or chills. Dress appropriately and avoid riding in temperatures that are extremely hot or cold. Do not overwork your body. You may not be able to cycle several miles like you could if you were feeling well. Bring along plenty of water, cough drops and a cell phone in case you get out somewhere and become unwell or cannot cycle back home.

Treatment

If you are experiencing cold symptoms that affect your chest or ability to breathe, seek medical attention — especially before cycling. A medical doctor will determine the health status of your lungs and check to make sure the cold has not developed into a more serious medical problem. He may prescribe antibiotics, an anti-viral medication or an inhaler to help you breathe better if the cold has turned into bronchitis, explains MedlinePlus.

Warnings

In some cases, a chest cold can quickly develop into a serious health hazard. This can cause an array of problems that may need urgent care. If you are cycling and suddenly begin to feel weak or find more difficulty in breathing, get medical attention immediately. Bronchial asthma can be triggered if the lungs are affected. Immediate assistance with an inhaler is required. An ear infection can also develop, especially if your immune system becomes severely impaired. Difficulty breathing, syncope and a discharge of yellow or green mucous could indicate an infection or pneumonia.

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