This time of year, everyone seems to be stifling sneezes and wiping their noses, so if you’re constantly running to the store to buy more tissues, you’re not alone. But if you start to wonder if your annoying symptoms will ever go away, it may be time to examine whether what you have is actually a cold or allergies.
The Differences Between Cold and Allergy Symptoms
Sneezing and a runny nose are common symptoms in colds and allergies, but there are some symptoms that often occur in just one or the other.
Cold Symptoms: A cold virus usually starts with a sore throat and stuffy nose, and develops a cough due to irritation from phlegm in the throat. Colds last from 3-10 days, and are common in winter months but can strike any time your immune system is run down.
Allergy Symptoms: A key thing to look for in allergies is itchy eyes, which doesn’t really happen in colds. And allergy symptoms usually start at the same time every year and can last for weeks or months.
The Differences Between Cold and Allergy Treatments
You can reach for cough syrup or ibuprofen to mask your symptoms, but neither will actually treat your condition. If you know whether you’re suffering from allergies or just a cold, it will be easier to get the treatment you need.
Cold treatments: Since colds are caused by viruses, they usually just have to run their course. You can try to shorten them with vitamin C, zinc and probiotics, but the best plan of action is to keep your immune system up so you aren’t as susceptible to catching them again. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and wash your hands frequently to avoid picking up germs.
Allergy treatments: Allergy symptoms are caused by something that triggers a reaction in your body when you breathe it in. It could be pollen in the spring or dust mites and mold from your furnace in the winter, so the first plan of action should be to determine what you’re allergic to. Then, you can try to take antihistamines or decongestants to improve your symptoms, or seek help from an ENT who can talk to you about other allergy treatments.
How Allergy Shots Work
If your doctor suspects you are suffering from allergies and that constant medication is not a good option, he may recommend that you try allergy shots. By gradually injecting small doses of allergens into your body, allergy shots train your immune system to be more tolerable so it doesn’t produce those annoying symptoms. It takes three to six months to build up the immunity and you’ll probably see a decrease in symptoms during that time, but you’ll need to continue a maintenance plan for up to five years.
Sound Health Physicians Are Experts in Allergy Treatment
When you’re ready to spend less time blowing your nose and scratching your eyes, call Sound Health to discuss how allergy treatments can make life more enjoyable.
Call us today at (314) 332-1377.