Weeds And Pollen Become Rampant During Longer Summers
Balmy temperatures let much of the country hit the beach for a few extra weeks each yearbut while your spirits soar, so do ragweed and pollen counts.
Counts usually drop significantly by the first week of September, explains Joseph Leija, M.D., founder of the Gottlieb Allergy Count, which provides the official allergy count for the Midwest. But when it gets rainy, grasses and weeds grow out of control depending on where you live. This can include the following:
Ragweed in particular seems to wreak havoc between August and November, reaching peak levels in mid-September. Just one ragweed plant can product up to 1 billion pollen grains and it can travel far, especially in the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the country, the AAFA says.
What Can I Do If Allergens Or Other Air Quality Issues Are Especially Prevalent In My Community
Unfortunately, where you live can play a role in how air quality issues are dealt with publicly, leading certain communities to be more likely to suffer from allergies. There are known disparities among both Black and Latinx populations for allergies as well as asthma, says Dr. Parikh. The ability to for individuals to remove environmental triggers for allergies and access effective treatment is lower in these communities.
There is also is a genetic component in that if you develop allergies, your child is 50 percent more likely to develop an allergy as well, which means communities with higher rates of asthma and allergies are more likely to pass them to their children and contribute to that growth, says Dr. Parikh.
If you think youre dealing with an environmental issue beyond your control thats affecting your physical health, organizations such as Earth Justice and We Act for Environmental Justice can provide resources and information.
Is My Sore Throat A Cold Or Allergies
Allergies can cause an itchy, irritated throat but the scratchy, sore throat of a cold tends to be characteristically painful, especially during swallowing. The duration of the itchy throat is unique to each individuals allergies, but a sore throat from a cold normally appears at the beginning of the cold and resides within a few days. Over-the-counter pain medications like Curist Pain Relief can relieve the pain from a sore throat, but wouldnt relieve the itchy throat caused by allergies.
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How To Treat Seasonal Allergies
In most cases, an over-the-counter antihistamine and decongestant will do the trick. If you have severe allergies, however, your doctor may prescribe nasal steroid spray or allergy shots to dampen symptoms.
It’s always a good idea to try your best to avoid your triggers, but that doesn’t mean you have to hole up inside with a box of tissues. To get less exposure to your allergens:
- Keep your windows shut when your allergies are active
- Use an air purifier if you’re sensitive to indoor allergens
- Wear a dust mask while doing yard work
- Check your local weather network for pollen forecasts
- Take a shower and wash your hair at the end of each day to get rid of pollen that attached to your clothes, hair and skin
Youre Not Consistent With Your Medication
It takes you three months to use up your 30-day supply of OTC allergy meds and you get your allergy shots only when youre feeling crummy. Sound familiar? Compliance is what both Dr. Shah and Dr. Leija cite as the biggest reason their patients cant get ahead of their symptoms.
It takes about two to three days for allergy medicine to kick in, explains Dr. Leija. And you cant just stop when you feel better or when the pollen count in your area is low. Pollen counts vary so much by the weather and the barometric pressure, he explains, so consistently taking your medication on days when numbers are low will prep you for when they surge again.
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Do You Have A Cold Or Allergies
It’s easy to get them confused. Just ask Paul Ehrlich, MD, a professor of pediatrics at New York University. He’d been an allergist for years when he came down with what he thought was a cold. “I’d had a watery, runny nose for several days when one of my patients took a look at me and said, ‘Oh, you have allergies, too!'” Ehrlich says.
He’d never had allergies before, but a checkup with another doctor confirmed that the patient was right. “Turns out I was allergic to birch trees, which were in bloom at the time,” he says.
A cold is an infection caused by a virus. Allergies are your immune system’s reaction to a substance like pollen or pet dander. Because the two conditions cause similar symptoms, like sniffles and stuffiness, many people get them mixed up. Knowing which is which can help you get the right treatment, and that will help you feel better faster.
What Are My Treatment Options For Colds
Unfortunately, there is no cure for a cold virus once youve been infected. The good news is that there are many over-the-counter medications and products that can treat your symptoms. If extra rest, drinking hot fluids, nasal irrigation, and saline gargles and washes are not enough to manage your cold symptoms, you could benefit from:
Always read the Drug Facts label on all types of medications before you take them. Its possible that some active ingredients may be in more than one medicine. Also, please note that young children should not be given certain cough and cold medicines check with your pediatrician before giving any medicine to young children and babies.
Its important to work closely with your doctor to determine the best allergy management strategy, depending on your living and work environment and unique sensitivities. With careful diagnosis and treatment, most people can find a way to manage their allergies successfully. Dont lose heart if youre struggling with allergy symptoms a physician can help you develop a plan to improve your situation. And if you have a cold instead of allergies be encouraged that most cold viruses fully resolve in a week or two, and that rest, fluids, or OTC medications can help you manage your symptoms more comfortably.
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It’s Probably Allergies If:
Your mucus is clear or watery. And it will stay clear, instead of becoming thick or discolored like it can with a cold, says Michael Benninger, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Your eyes are itchy or watery. It’s rare to have itchy eyes when you have a cold.
Your symptoms stay the same. “Allergies may feel extra intense for the first day or 2, but you’ll have the same symptoms day after day,” Benninger says.
You’ve had the sniffles for more than a week. A cold usually clears up in 7 to 10 days, but allergies can last several weeks or longer.
Your symptoms show up only in certain situations. Find yourself sneezing every spring or fall? Those are common times for allergies. Another allergy tip-off: Being in a specific place makes you feel miserable — for example, in a house with a cat.
How Are Fall Allergies Treated
If autumn hits and youre constantly sneezing or dealing with itchy eyes, its likely that youre allergic to something in the air. Allergies dont have a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to treatment, but the AAFA says there are several over-the-counter options you can try to keep your symptoms at bay:
Nasal corticosteroids or decongestants both work to minimize nasal swelling, which causes a stuffy, runny, or itchy nose. Just note that you should limit decongestant use to a day or two, otherwise your symptoms may get worse. Try NasalCrom Nasal Allergy Symptom Controller.
Corticosteroid creams and ointments help treat itchy rashes and keeps them from getting worse. Try Cortizone-10 Maximum Strength. See your doctor if you dont see improvement within a week.
Antihistamines or mast cell stabilizers come in variety of forms, like tablets, liquids, and nose sprays. Because they block the release of histamine, you should see an improvement in common symptoms like sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and hives. Try Claritin 24 Hour Non-Drowsy Allergy RediTabs.
Be sure to discuss these treatments with your allergist, who may also recommend allergy shots, prescription-strength meds, or carrying an EpiPen if your symptoms become severe.
Additional reporting by Alisa Hrustic
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Colds Vs Allergies: Symptoms & Duration
Because allergies and colds can both cause symptoms in the upper respiratory tract, recognizing whether symptoms like nasal congestion is due to allergies or a cold can be challenging. However, there are some important distinctions between the two.
Some symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, and nasal congestion are common in individuals suffering from either allergies or a cold. Oftentimes with seasonal allergies, symptoms can have an abrupt onset – feeling well one minute than suddenly feeling congested, sneezy and itchy. Cold symptoms develop more insidiously. In addition, the itchy eyes, nose, or throat common to allergies is absent in the common cold. While the throat may become itchy or irritated from allergies, the sore throat from a cold is generally more painful and is often most keenly felt when swallowing. A cold can sometimes cause a low grade fever, but allergies do not. Chills and general discomfort and muscle soreness are occasional in colds and absent in allergies.
The symptoms from the common cold normally last for about 7-14 days. The duration of allergy symptoms is variable and depends on the frequency of exposure to the allergen and the severity of the allergic response. For instance, a brief visit to a friends house who owns a cat may lead to a few bouts of sneezing for one individual or an entire day of itchy, watery eyes for another. Some individuals experience symptoms of allergies year-round.
Can A Cold Or Flu Cause Allergies
An allergy is an inflammatory immune response to specific foods or something in the environment, known as an allergen. Colds and flu are caused by viruses or bacteria. Therefore, a cold or flu cannot cause an allergy.
Sometimes, allergies can lead to a sinus infection, which may develop into a fever. Sinus infections are the result of excess mucus and debris getting trapped in the air-filled sinus passages. However, the infection develops due to the bacteria or viruses present rather than the allergens.
Knowing what a person is allergic to can help in treating the allergies. A person can be allergic to several allergens at once. Some of the key steps to reducing allergy symptoms include:
A person with severe allergies may benefit from immunotherapy. This approach involves injecting increasing amounts of allergens in the body to de-sensitize the bodys immune response. A doctor must prescribe these injections.
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Common Cold And Allergies Have Different Symptoms
You may be wondering, what causes colds? Common cold results from a contagious virus that you contract when you come in contact with another person carrying the virus.
Allergies are an immune reaction to allergens that affect your respiratory system. They can be any thing form sut particles to foods. Here are the three primary differences between colds and allergies.
Can I Prevent Myself From Getting Allergy Symptoms
In terms of preventing allergic reactions, the first step is to find out what youre allergic to. Doctors who specialize in allergy and immunology can help patients discover what might be causing their specific allergies with skin, patch, and blood tests. For example, sometimes its difficult to know if your allergy trigger is pollen, pets, mold spores, or a combination of different triggers. Once you have an understanding of your allergy trigger, its best to avoid contact with them as much as possible. Depending on the category of allergy that you have, you may want to try the following:
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Fever And Allergies Symptoms
The most common sign that you have an allergy is that it is short-lived and persists only as long as you are exposed to the allergen. If your symptoms persist, it may be that you have the flu or the common cold since they typically last longer.
However, itchy and watery eyes, which are common in allergies, are not signs of the flu or a cold.
What Causes Respiratory Allergies
If you have allergies, you are not alone. Nearly 50 million other Americans have them, too. In fact, allergies are the fifth leading chronic, or long-term, disease in the United States, and the third most common chronic disease among children under 18-years-old.
Allergic reactions are caused by an over-reactive immune system. Sometimes the body mistakes a harmless substance for a dangerous invader. This results in a release of chemicals from immune cells, which can cause sneezing, itchy, runny nose or eyes, rashes or hives, inflamed eyes, skin, or lungs. In severe allergic reactions, whole body reactions may require immediate medical attention.
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Colds And Allergies: Whats The Difference
Many of my patients are not sure how to tell the difference between a common cold and allergies. Its easy to get confused, since colds and allergies share some of the same symptoms. Heres how you can tell if your symptoms are related to a cold virus or allergies:
- Duration: Colds dont usually last longer than 5 to 7 days, but allergies can last as long as youre exposed to the thing youre allergic to, the allergen.
- Onset of Symptoms: Cold viruses take about three days to cause symptoms. The sneezing, watery eyes, etc., from an allergy can happen as soon as you are in contact with the allergen.
- Allergy Symptom Characteristic: Allergies never cause a fever or body aches. The following symptoms are more common in allergy sufferers : itchy, watery eyes clear mucus that doesnt turn yellow and symptoms that are triggered when seasons change.
- Cold Symptom Characteristics: The following symptoms are more common in cold virus infections : cough sore throat thick, yellow mucus and winter-time onset. Unlike allergies, the common cold is often accompanied by fever and body aches.
How Do I Catch Allergies Or Colds: Which Is Contagious
Colds can be spread from person to person, but allergies cannot. Colds are an infection, but allergies are a unique sensitivity to environmental allergens. Actions that can prevent the spread of colds include 1) frequent hand washing, 2) covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue which is then thrown away, 3) using antiviral disinfectants to wipe down commonly touched areas. Preventing symptoms due to allergies involves minimizing exposure to the allergen that causes symptoms. Certain medications, like antihistamines and nasal corticosteroid sprays, may also be appropriate for preventing specific allergy symptoms in some individuals.
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The Common Cold Symptoms
The common cold is the most common upper respiratory tract infection. More than 200 different viruses can cause colds. Symptoms usually develop 1 3 days after being exposed to the virus.
- It nearly always starts rapidly with throat irritation and stuffiness in the nose.
- Within hours, full-blown cold symptoms usually develop, which can include sneezing, mild sore throat, fever, minor headaches, muscle aches, and coughing.
- Fever is low-grade or absent. In small children, however, fever may be as high as 103 °F for 1 or 2 days. The fever should go down after that time, and be back to normal by the 5th day.
- Nasal discharge is usually clear and runny the first 1 3 days. It then thickens and becomes yellow to greenish.
- The sore throat is usually mild and lasts only about a day. A runny nose usually lasts 2 7 days, although coughing and nasal discharge can persist for more than 2 weeks.
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How Can I Manage My Fall Allergies On My Own
In addition to taking allergy medication as suggested by your doctor, one of the other treatments is allergy avoidance, says Dr. Parikh. Basically, it’s about reducing your allergen exposure so as not to constantly trigger symptoms. Here are a few, impactful things you can do every day:
- Avoid peak pollen times outdoors. Early mornings, for example, are when outdoor pollen counts tend to be the highest, while late afternoon and evenings are preferable if you tend to experience symptoms from common outdoor allergens.
- Keep your windows closed. Not only will this help to keep pollen out of your house, but keeping your air conditioner on recirculate or filter-only mode can help to cut down on the amount of pollen and other allergens you breathe in, helping you to breathe more easily and comfortably.
- Change your clothes and shower immediately when you get home from an outdoor workout. This will ensure youve rinsed all pollen off your body, helping to reduce your risk of symptoms flaring up.
- Try an air purifier. If you also have indoor allergies, you can try a HEPA air purifiers to help with mold and animal dander . For dust mites, you can get encased dust mite covers for bedding, vacuum frequently, or forego carpet altogether if possible.
- Reduce inflammation. Your diet matters, too. Alcohol and processed foods may make allergies worse by increasing inflammation in your body, so lowering your intake and consuming them in moderation may bring you some relief, says Dr. Parikh.
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Treating The Common Cold
Your body will get rid of the cold virus over time. Since antibiotics only kill bacteria, they wont work on the viruses that cause colds. Still, there are medications that can help relieve your symptoms while a cold runs its course.
Cold remedies include:
Cough syrups and OTC medications arent recommended for children under 4 years old, while nasal sprays arent recommended for children under age 6.
Ask your doctor before taking any OTC cold medication, especially if you also take prescription medications, have any existing health conditions, or are pregnant.
Dont use cold medications for a long period of time. Using them for extended periods can cause side effects such as rebound congestion.
You can also try home treatments to relieve a cold, such as:
- drinking more fluids like water, juice, and herbal tea
Decongestants come in pills and nasal sprays. However, nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline can make your congestion worse if you use them for more than three days in a row.