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General : "Do I have a cold or is this from quitting smoking?"  
 Message 1 of 2 in Discussion 
From: Joel  (Original Message)Sent: 12/8/2005 4:54 AM
I quit smoking one week ago today. Yesterday and today I have had terrible yellow mucus draining from my nose when I wake up, as well as coughing up that same nasty lumpy colored stuff.  Is this "quitters flu" ?  I know the coughing is normal? But, what about the nose? Maybe I have a concurrent virus?
Hello MH:
I am going to attach a number of commentaries addressing symptoms that people may have while quitting and how they can easily be confused with symptoms that may be occurring from other causes.  Be sure to click on the links in the posts for they will go into further detail than just the attached text. I hope this material helps.
Every now and then a person will experience a specific symptom and put up a post asking whether or not the symptom is one that is normally experienced by people who have quit smoking and if others here had experienced the same symptom when they had quit. As far as if a specific symptom is one that "can" occur after cessation, we have put together a pretty inclusive string titled Possible Withdrawal Symptoms.
As far as whether or not another member or numerous members experienced the same symptom, it does not really make a difference if they had or had not. It is like someone writing and saying that he or she is having a tingling sensation in his or her arm and wondering if anyone else experienced the same symptom when they quit. Then a person who had slept on his or her arm one night when quitting smoking and woke up with that particular arm tingling writes back and says that sure enough, he or she had a tingling arm the week he or she had quit. Now the recent quitter feels a sense of relief because he or she has seen that one other person had the same symptom. So the person does nothing.
The problem was that the person who wrote the question was not having tingling from having slept on his or her arm, but rather, was experiencing a symptom of a heart attack that he was now ignoring. This action could result in a fatal mistake of not seeking what was immediately needed medical attention.
Read the posts Giving and getting medical advice online.Possible Withdrawal Symptoms, and Life goes on without smoking. If you have a concern of a symptom that you are experiencing consult your personal doctor. We say it often here, that the only medical advice that we can give is that to reduce your risk of a host of illnesses and conditions is to stick to your commitment to never take another puff!

General warning about getting colds or flu after quitting

All recent quitters need to be aware of two things thta can happen when getting cold or flu near the time that they quit smoking. First, a cold may be more annoying than normal. If anyone gets a cold within a few months of a quit, it is often a really uncomfortable one. The reason being not only are you producing excessive mucous from the infection itself, but since your Cilia are still in the process of cleaning out of the built up mucous that has been accumulated over the years and decades that never had a chance of coming out before, the amount of congestion and the symptoms can really make a person miserable.

Also, with nerve cells that have now regenerated throughout your whole respiratory tract functioning normally, you can feel pain and irritation that were dulled when you were a smoker. It may have taken you a little longer as a smoker to even know when you were getting sick. With impaired nerve cells you may not have felt earlier symptoms, or if you did you may not have been able to differentiate what was just an effect of smoking too much or of actually having some sort of infection. With nerve cells back in place you are likely not going to be overly tempted to smoke for the concept of pouring hot irritating smoke on an already irritated throat is generally not a pleasant thought.

Where you do have to be careful and aware is that when your cold starts to dissipate, you might get stronger than normal thoughts for cigarettes. For while you likely cut back on cigarette consumption when you were a smoker with a cold, when you started to get better you would have to make up for lost time, or more accurately, for lower than normal nicotine levels since you had instinctively cut cigarettes down to a bare minimum in those times. This makes the first time getting well a potentially powerful trigger. Just be aware of the fact and it will help you to minimize the effect. Then know that over your lifetime, your colds will probably be less frequent, resolve quicker and be less severe as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

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 Message 2 of 2 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/8/2005 4:58 AM
By the way, it is likely that there is a concurrent infection going on with nasal symptoms, but to find out for sure you should speak to your doctor.