Allergic? To be or not to be

Wondering if your nagging cold is actually an allergy? Or what about your new skin cream that made your hands break out? Distinguishing an allergy from a non-allergic condition or cold is not always a clear-cut task. But knowing the difference can sometimes help you solve what's ailing you, which in turn could mean faster relief.

Many factors contribute to allergies. Most are caused by environmental factors such as pollen, dust, mold, pet dander or cockroach. Other allergies can develop from foods and medications, which may actually cause more severe reactions than environmental allergens.

Colds are, of course, different than allergies, but knowing which one you or your child have may be harder to determine. The following comparison should help you decide.

Occurance of Symptoms
Colds: Symptoms often appear one at a time: first sneezing, then a runny nose, then congestion.
Allergies: Symptoms occur all at once.

Duration of Symptoms
Colds: Generally last from seven to 10 days.
Allergies: Continue as long as a person is exposed to the allergy-causing agent (allergen).

Mucus
Colds: Often a yellowish nasal discharge, due to an infection.
Allergies: Generally a clear, thin, watery discharge.

Sneezing
Colds:Less common than with allergies.
Allergies: More common than with colds, especially when sneezing occurs two or three times in a row.

Time of Year
Colds: More common during winter.
Allergies: More common in spring, early summer and fall, when plants are pollinating.

Fever
Colds: May be accompanied by a fever.
Allergies: Not usually associated with a fever.

If you think you or your child's "cold" may actually be an allergy but you're still not sure, we can help you make that determination and then provide a treatment plan to relieve all those nagging symptoms. Give us a call at 423-468-3267.