Patient: I have been catching what I believe is a cold about once a month for the past 6 months or so. It starts with a stuffy nose on only one side, then spreads to both nostrils, then becomes runny, soon after I get a sore throat, then a dry irritated throat, then a constant cough, my lungs feel heavy and its hard to breathe. I feel out of breath often. The cough doesn’t produce much mucus, if any. I’ve never been this sick this frequently in my life. I’m not around anyone who is sick. I’m at home almost 24/7. I have a school aged child, but this started long before she started school. I’m worried because I’m getting sick all of the time, with only a week or 2 between each illness episode. Any idea what could be causing this? Is it just chronic or is it a sign of something more serious than just a bunch of colds?
Symptoms: Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, dry throat
Doctor: Thank you for your question. Your repeated upper respiratory tract infections may either be due to allergies or due to e xposure to something in your immediate environment rather than a bacterial or viral infection. Since you are home most of the time, it is possible that you could develop allergies to dust, or pet hair if you have pets. A more serious cause of your symptoms may be due to exposure to mold within your house. Inhalation of mold can cause chronic lung infections which can become debilitating. We strongly recommend that you consult your doctor regarding these possibilities of your symptoms, as well as be tested for more chronic respiratory infections such as tuberculosis. We also encourage you to have your home’s air quality tested, as well as have it inspected for mold infestation. We hope you feel better soon.Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com