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.
Know Your Paths To Care
Were here to help you get better quickly, with tools and information for self-care and convenient options for visits or advice when you need it. Easy ways to get help for your cold or allergy symptoms include:
- Consulting Nurse Service: Call a nurse, who will assess your symptoms and recommend treatments or other next steps. Available 24/7.
- Online visit: Complete a questionnaire about your symptoms. A clinician will provide a diagnosis, treatment plan and, if needed, a prescription without a trip to your doctors office.
- CareClinic by Kaiser Permanente at Bartell Drugs:Walk in for care at 15 Puget Sound Bartell Drugs locations. Open 7 days a week with evening and weekend hours.
Can Allergies Cause Swollen Glands
Allergies have different forms, from mild to even life-threatening ones. They can make your life very miserable. The symptoms of an allergy become noticeable when the immune system overreacts to an allergen. Common known allergens include pollen, molds, dust mites, insects, strings, food, etc. Hives, skin redness and skin itchiness are common, accompanied by a stuffy and watery nose, eye redness, eye itchiness, etc. But, do allergies cause swollen glands as well?
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When To Seek Medical Help
Postnasal drip can be annoying, but it usually isn’t dangerous, as Harvard Medical School explains. However, there are some circumstances when you should seek medical help. See your doctor or dentist if your symptoms get worse or if they aren’t relieved by home remedies. You should also see your doctor if your sore throat is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, such as an unexplained fever or bloody mucus.
Allergy season has arrived, and while you may experience a sore throat from allergies, rest assured that there are many home remedies that can help to soothe your symptoms. If these home remedies aren’t enough, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
The Common Sore Throat
Thanks to developing immune systems and group environments, kids can get up to eight colds a year, and sore throats are often front and center among the symptoms. If your child has a cold, they will likely suffer from other symptoms, such as a runny nose, congestion, and respiratory problems. In most cases, the viral infection, or common cold, needs to run its course and your child should start feeling better after 3-7 days.
If, however, these symptoms arent getting any better, or theyre heading in the opposite direction and becoming worse, this is a sign that there may be more at play than a simple cold. And if your child develops a fever thats above 101 and it persists, thats another clear sign that youre dealing with more than a cold.
Strep throat, mononucleosis, the flu, measles, and chickenpox all feature sore throats as one of the primary symptoms. And these are all conditions that benefit from medical attention.
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What’s The Best Way To Manage A Sore Throat From Allergies
Fact: You dont need to suffer through this, and allergists say there are a few things you can do to try to relieve your pain. Ultimately, Dr. Wada says, the best treatment is a combo of tackling your nasal symptoms and sore throat. Try these treatment options.
- Use an antihistamine. Antihistamines block the effects of histamines, lessening the risk youll develop allergy symptoms, including a sore throat, Dr. Wada says.
- Try a nasal steroid spray. Nasal steroid sprays help reduce inflammation in your nasal passages, Dr. Wada says, and could help tamp down on post-nasal drip.
- Gargle with warm salt water. Not only does it feels soothing on your throat, Dr. Wada says, the salt in the water can help pull mucus out of the area and make you feel better.
- Have some honey. If a cough is behind your sore throat, consider having a spoonful of honey. Research has found that honey can reduce how often and how intensely you cough when youre sick. Honey can also be soothing for sore throats for anyone over age one, Dr. Wada says.
If you have a sore throat from allergies and this is a regular thing for you, Dr. Parikh recommends talking to your doctor or allergist about allergen immunotherapy, which are shots you can take to help reduce your reaction to allergens. These can make you less allergic to the trigger over time, Dr. Parikh says.
What To Do For A Sore Throat
Painful, dry, scratchy- the bothersome symptoms of a sore throat are hard to ignore. From strep throat to allergies, sore throats account for more than 13 million trips to healthcare providers each year.
Most sore throat cases are caused by viral or bacterial infections, but environmental factors can play a role as well. The good news is that many sore throats resolve on their own, and at-home treatment options can help speed up the recovery process.
Lets dive into what to do when you get a sore throat.
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Can You Get A Sore Throat From Allergies And What Causes It
Yep, and how you develop it all comes down to how your body reacts when its exposed to an allergen like pollen. If you have allergies, your immune system will react to being exposed to an allergen by releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
For many people with seasonal allergies, those histamines can cause a stuffy, runny noseand that can trigger post-nasal drip, i.e. mucus running down the back of your throat, explains Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist with Allergy & Asthma Network. And that can cause irritation back there. Cue the sore throat. Often, first thing in morning it will be worse from laying down all night, Dr. Parikh says.
Post-nasal drip isnt the only reason you might develop a sore throat from allergies, though. Coughing and mouth breathing can also mess with the way your throat feels, says Kara Wada, MD, an allergist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Of course, not everyone with allergies gets a sore throat. Allergies can affect each of us differently, Dr. Wada says. There are some things that might make you more prone to struggling with a sore throat from allergies, Dr. Parikh says, including how severe your allergies are and the anatomy of your nose.
How To Treat A Sore Throat Caused By Allergies
Allergy meds are usually the best place to start. Antihistamines, like Claritin, Zyrtec, or Benadryl, can help tame inflammation and ease your symptoms overall, Dr. Mehdizadeh says. Nasal sprays, like ipratropium, and nasal glucocorticoids, like fluticasone, are good for easing postnasal drip, too.
Natural remedies could also make a difference. Gargling with warm saltwater can help get rid of irritating mucus, and drinking plenty of water or inhaling steam may soothe scratchiness.
Of course, prevention might be the most effective tactic of all. Minimizing your exposure to allergenssay, by keeping your windows closed and showering as soon as you come inside after being outdoorscan keep your symptoms from flaring up and help stop that sore throat before it starts.
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Strep Throat Is Lurking
Though its not as common in adults, strep throat is a bacterial infection that can cause swollen tonsils and inflammation, says Dr. Zalvan. Besides difficulty swallowing, you might also experience bad breath and have trouble opening your mouth.
Left untreated, bacterial tonsillitis can lead to a more complicated infection that causes pus to collect around the capsule of the tonsil. This infection may require intravenous antibiotics and a drainage procedure to remove the abscess, says Brad DeSilva, MD, otolaryngologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Because strep is sometimes associated with sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia, it can be hard to tell if your swollen tonsils are the victim of a viral or bacterial infection. If symptoms persist, Dr. DeSilva recommends having your doc run a rapid strep test to determine if antibiotics are needed.
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What Should I Do If I Dont Know If Its A Cold Or Covid
Unfortunately, despite the classic symptoms no longer being the most common, the government is only giving free PCR tests to people with a fever, loss or change in smell or taste or a new, continuous cough.
Experts say that given the changing nature of the illness, people should get a test even if their symptoms are milder or seem more like a cold. Do stay at home and get a test, Prof Tim Spector, lead scientist on the Zoe app, said, recommending people who think they may have a cold get a lateral flow test.
If its positive, get a PCR test to make sure, but treat it as if you’ve got Covid, he said.
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Treatment For Chronic Sore Throat From Allergies
If it is determined that allergies are the reason for your sore throat, there are several ways to treat these allergies in order to relieve throat pain. Consulting with an ENT specialist will help you determine which is the best approach for your lifestyle and allergies.
Allergy medicine such as oral antihistamines can be taken daily to help alleviate allergy symptoms like sore throat. This is a good solution for short term relief, but you can end up relying on the daily oral medicine and even building a tolerance to the medication making it less effective. If sore throat is being caused or worsened by acid reflux, oral antacid medicines can also be effective to reduce this symptom.
Allergy experts recommend immunotherapy to treat allergies, which involves small regular doses of the allergen to prevent a histamine reaction. Traditionally, immunotherapy was delivered by doctors through a monthly allergy shot. These days, sublingual immunotherapy or allergy drops allow patients to simply put a few drops under their tongue each day at home to effectively eliminate and prevent allergies. These drops are customized for each persons unique allergies, which are determined through an easy and accurate allergy test.
A Pollen Allergy: Symptoms Of A Sore Throat
A sore throat is discomfort, pain or swelling in the throat, according to MedlinePlus.A pollen allergy causes the hormone, histamine, to be released in the body, causing inflammation and irritation in the throat.Once the throat swells, it becomes increasingly sensitive and agitated. The best treatment for a sore throat from a pollen allergy is to avoid pollen exposure and treat the allergic reaction with an antihistamine, according to National Jewish Health. If a sore throat persists, seek medical advice, as it may be sign of a more serious condition. Begin treating a sore throat at the first signs and symptoms.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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What Are The Main Symptoms Of Covid
According to the Zoe symptom tracker app, developed by researchers at Kings College London, the most common symptom of Covid is a headache. It is incredibly widespread: two-thirds of the under 40s currently suffering from the virus have a headache as well as over half of those over 40.
The next most common symptoms are a sore throat and runny nose classic features of a common cold. Half of those under 40 report a sore throat or runny nose and about a third of the over 40s feel the same.
For the over 40s with the virus, none of the classic symptoms named by the NHS makes it into the top five most common signs of the virus. Four in 10 people under 40 report either a fever or persistent cough.
Experts have warned that omicron is triggering a rather different set of symptoms compared to previous variants. These include fatigue, body aches , sore or “scratchy” throat and even sneezing.
How Can You Tell If Your Sore Throat Is From Allergies
Sore throat, especially during the winter months, can also signal a cold or a virus, making it hard to tell what youre dealing with. It can be difficult to differentiate between a cold and allergies, but the best way to differentiate between the two would be length of symptoms and past history of allergies, Dr. Li says.
Both allergies and the seasonal cold can cause runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes and cough, he says. However, cold symptoms typically last only a few days while allergy symptoms will often last several weeks to months.
Allergy symptoms also typically flare up during the spring, summer and fall seasons, while colds usually come during the winter times, Dr. Li says. Allergy symptoms are also more responsive to oral antihistamine and nasal steroids while cold symptoms typically are more resistant to these types of treatments. Lastly, colds or viruses that can cause sore throat will usually will present with more fevers and body aches than allergies will.
Certain symptoms, such as runny nose or itchy, watery eyes, are more common with allergies than a cold, Dr. Simpson adds. If youre also experiencing aches and pains or a fever, you most likely have a cold or virus. Thick yellow mucus is often more typical of a cold or virus.
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Soothing A Sore Throat At Home
Here are several home remedies that may help soothe a sore throat from allergies, according to Harvard Medical School:
- Stay well-hydrated to help to thin the mucus.
- Consume more hot liquids, such as chicken soup.
- Use a humidifier or inhale steam.
- Prop yourself up with a few extra pillows at night, since mucus can collect in the back of your throat when you lie flat.
There are also many over-the-counter medications available, including oral decongestants and antihistamines. Nasal decongestants may also be helpful, though Harvard Medical School cautions that they shouldn’t be used for more than one to two days. For help choosing the most appropriate product, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist.
While these steps can help soothe a sore throat from allergies, they won’t prevent future allergy symptoms. Pollen, whether from grass, trees or ragweed, is a common culprit of seasonal allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, so avoiding exposure to it can help. The Mayo Clinic recommends staying indoors on dry, windy days and, if possible, keeping your doors and windows closed on days with high pollen counts. If you need to do outdoor chores, such as lawn mowing or weed pulling, wear a pollen mask.
Soothing The Sore Throats Of Allergies
Itchy eyes and runny noses are par for the course during spring and fall for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. But if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night with a throat so sore you can hardly swallow, you might also be dealing with allergy symptoms.
Exposure to allergens causes your body to ramp up mucus production. For some people that causes a runny nose, but in others the extra mucus drains down the throat, a symptom called postnasal drip which can lead to a tickle in the throat or scratchy pain. Irritants that cause an allergic reaction can include pollen, cigarette smoke, dust mites or pet dander.
Sore throats caused by allergies can be painful. A few ways to help soothe them include: Avoid irritants. Limit your time outside as much as possible when pollen counts are high, stay away from second hand smoke and avoid coming into close contact with furry pets. Run a humidifier to keep the air moist in your home, especially in the bedroom while you sleep. Drink plenty of water to soothe your throat and stay hydrated. Use cough drops or hard candy to coat your throat and ease the pain. Over the counter pain relievers can help reduce inflammation, and antihistamines can help control the mucus production.
Here at Piedmont Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, our experienced medical staff can help isolate your symptoms and get you on the right course to feeling better in no time.
Questions? Contact us, or call 768-3361 today to schedule your appointment.
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When Should I Be Concerned
Tearing of the eyes, swelling, etc. are perennial allergies due to allergens like animals, dust, or mold, says Mili Shum, MD, allergist and immunologist at U of U Health. Your symptoms will be the same as last year.
Cough, post-nasal drip, or a history of asthma are known triggers for allergic reactions. For people who are aware of their allergies, the symptoms should not be out of proportion from reactions in the past. If the cough feels different to you, or if you have a fever, this is most likely not an allergic reaction but something else.
Its still early in the COVID-19 phase, Shum says. People are still attributing their symptoms to their allergies.
If your cough gets worse to the point you have difficulty breathing, call your health care provider and seek immediate medical attention.