Is it a Winter cold or allergy?

29 Jun 2016

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At this time of year, it’s not uncommon to feel the effects of the temperature drop. Are your allergies flaring up, or maybe you’ve picked up the latest round of the “Child Care Cold”? How can you tell the difference? While cold and flu medicine can sometimes help relieve the symptoms of an allergy, it’s important to know what the real problem is. Get you and your family back on track with this simple guide.

Which is which?

While the common cold is caused by a virus, allergies are immune system responses to allergens (such as pollen, dust or pet hair).

The easiest way to work out the difference between the two is how long the symptoms last. A cold usually lasts no longer than 10 days, while allergies can pester you for months and months. Allergies are frequently seasonal, but may seem to come from nowhere, while a cold’s symptoms slowly build.

Often you can tell what’s going on by considering your symptoms. A cold normally comes along with coughing, nasal congestion and a sore throat, whereas itchiness of the eyes and throat may indicate allergies. Mucus is another telltale sign – thick, yellowy mucus often accompanies an infection, while allergies come with thin, watery discharge.

If you have a fever, muscle aches or your body temperature is all over the place, that’s another good sign you have a cold or flu. Hay fever, despite the name, is not accompanied by a fever.

Your Action Plan

Now you’ve worked out what you have, you can treat it!

To shrug off that cold, get plenty of rest and fluids, try an over-the-counter cold and flu medicine to relieve symptoms, get someone to make you chicken noodle soup, and download a Netflix subscription. Wash your hands frequently and get some fresh air – cold are contagious, unlike allergies.

As for your allergy, your first step is to stay away from your allergen. Get into those hard-to-reach spots for a proper clean. Give your bedding a long, hot wash to get rid of any dust mites. Stock up on the right ointments and creams for dry skin.

Our doctors can formulate a hay fever and allergy management plan specifically for you, and if you don’t know what is causing your allergic reaction, make a booking to come and see us. We’ll help you get back to feeling your best. Call us on 07 3252 3711, or click here to make an appointment online.

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