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Prolonged Colds? These 5 Diseases May Be the Cause

Prolonged colds are conditions that should not be taken lightly. In some cases, this condition can indicate a serious illness that requires medical treatment. So, what causes persistent colds? Check out the explanation in the following review.

Prolonged Colds?  These 5 Diseases May Be the Cause

Various Causes of Chronic Colds to Watch Out for

Colds usually go away in about 2 weeks with or without treatment. However, if the runny nose doesn’t go away within this time, it may indicate a certain medical condition.

Here are some conditions that may be the cause of prolonged colds, including:

1. Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are benign (noncancerous) growths of the lining of the nasal mucosa that are in the nasal cavities. Please note that the mucosa is a very wet (mucous) layer and functions to protect the inside of the nose and sinuses; and moisten the inhaled air before it enters the lungs.

Excessive growth of mucous tissue in nasal polyps occurs as a result of prolonged inflammation, either due to infection or allergic reactions. As a result, the nasal mucosa becomes swollen and red, and can produce fluid dripping out (runny nose).

2. Sinusitis

The following chronic colds can also be caused by sinusitis, which is inflammation of the wall tissue lining the sinus cavities (air-filled spaces located in the nose, cheeks, nasal cavities and above the eyes). This occurs when the air-filled sinuses are filled with fluid and become blocked.

Ultimately, the germs can cause an infection which is known as sinusitis. When you have a cold along with sinusitis, it can cause pain around your nose and eyes, and produce mucus with a yellowish tint.

Symptoms of sinusitis that you can recognize are colds that last up to 1 month. If a prolonged runny nose lasts more than that time, this condition is categorized as chronic sinusitis.

Also Read: 23 Cold Remedies You Can Try (Medical and Natural)

3. Allergies

The most common prolonged colds are caused by allergies. Some allergens (things that trigger allergies) include: dust, animal hair, pollen, or mites. When an allergy occurs, the immune system will react to the allergen.

This condition can occur because the nasal cells release histamine and other chemicals when they encounter an allergen. As a result, inflammation of the nose and typical symptoms such as mucus discharge can occur.

The impact of colds that occur due to allergies is usually sneezing, coughing, until the appearance of a fever. Those symptoms will quickly appear when you touch or just close to the allergen.

4. Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Non-allergic rhinitis or also known as vasomotor rhinitis is inflammation that occurs in the inner nose caused by disorders of the nasal nerves and can cause a prolonged runny nose. Symptoms can be seen from nasal congestion, sneezing, and runny nose.

Non-allergic rhinitis occurs when the blood vessels inside the nose widen. This dilation of blood vessels causes nasal congestion and causes swelling. It can also dry out mucus in the nose.

You need to know, under normal conditions these blood vessels narrow so that air circulation in the nose can run smoothly. However, when there is inflammation, the blood vessels widen so that the airways in the nose are disturbed.

5. Pneumonia

Other prolonged colds can also be caused by pneumonia. This infectious disease can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This disease that is easily transmitted through the air generally occurs when someone is coughing or sneezing.

You also need to know, pneumonia will be more at risk if you have certain conditions such as:

  • Have a history of certain chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, asthma, diabetes, heart failure, and cystic fibrosis.
  • Have a weak immune system due to illness or use of certain drugs such as steroids.
  • Have a smoking habit. Smoking activity can cause mucus and fluid to build up in the lungs, conditions that can cause wet lungs.

Also Read: 12 Symptoms of Wet Lungs to Recognize and Watch Out for

Prolonged Colds Due to Allergies or Non-Allergies?

After knowing the things that cause prolonged colds, the next step is to distinguish whether the cold you are experiencing is part of an allergic reaction or not. Therefore, it is recommended that you see an ENT specialist to determine with certainty the cause of the prolonged runny nose that occurs.

In general, the doctor will perform a physical examination using a speculum to look inside the nasal cavity. Apart from that, the doctor will also suggest a skin prick test to determine whether you have allergic rhinitis or not, as well as do a blood test.

That way, the treatment will be adjusted to the cause. Things you can do include:

  • Routine cleaning of the residence.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Meet the needs of the body’s fluid intake properly.
  • Take decongestants and antihistamines.
  • Wear a mask when in public places.
  • Clean the nasal passages with a saline solution.
  • For those of you who have pets, don’t forget to keep your pets clean regularly.

In the end, if this prolonged runny nose is accompanied by shortness of breath, ear pain, difficulty swallowing, pain around the eyes, or sore throat, immediately consult an ENT specialist to get the right treatment.

When to see a doctor when a cold doesn’t get better?

If you have a cold for 10 days and it doesn’t get better, you should see a doctor. In general, flu viruses last 7 to 10 days, so if they last longer than that time, they most likely have a bacterial infection and need antibiotics.

Please note, children, the elderly, smokers, and individuals with serious health problems such as asthma, heart disease, cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tend to suffer longer when exposed to colds.

  1. Anonymous. 2021. Common cold. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
  2. Anonymous 2022. Non-allergic rhinitis. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
  3. Anonymous. 2020. Pneumonia. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
  4. Bartlein, Lisa. 2017. When Should You See a Doctor for a Cold?. (Accessed February 17, 2023)
  5. Sampson, Stacy. 2018. Acute Sinusitis. (Accessed February 17, 2023)

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