Is It A Cold Or Spring Allergies?
Spring can be one of the most wonderful times of the year. But as fresh pollen starts to fill the air, it is also when certain symptoms can cause you to question whether you have allergies or a cold.
Common cold symptoms are usually due to a virus attacking your immune system. Allergies, on the other hand, are caused by an overactive immune system that reacts when you’re exposed to harmless allergens that your body mistakes for germs.
“Cold symptoms take a few days to appear after infection with a virus, and occur any time of the year, but predominantly in winter,” said Dr. Hetal Amin, Allergist-Immunologist with Morris Hospital Allergy Specialists. “A cold typically presents with nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, chills, body aches, and the occasional fever.”
Patients with allergies can also experience a runny nose, sneezing, and congestion.
“The main difference is allergies can also cause itchy, watery eyes, ears, and throat, and a dry hacking cough,” added Dr. Amin. “Allergy patients don’t have fever, chills, or body aches. Symptoms can be present year-round or seasonally from days to months, depending on the length of exposure to the trigger.”
If over-the-counter allergy medications don’t provide relief, a patient should seek advice from an allergist. If it is found you do have allergies, Dr. Amin takes a clinical history to determine which tests should be performed.
“ImmunoCAP IgE testing looks for allergy-specific antibody levels in the blood for various airborne and food allergens,” said Dr. Amin. “The percutaneous skin prick testing can determine allergies to trees, grasses, molds, dust mites, and various animals.”
Once your allergies have been identified, a number of prevention and medication measures can be pursued to provide relief. In the end, Dr. Amin emphasizes you don’t have to suffer as long as you take control of your allergies.
“Long-term treatment consists of a combination of environmental control and avoidance measures, medications, and a series of allergy injections to build tolerance to the allergens the immune system overreacts to,” said Dr. Amin. “A newer form of treatment consists of sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops or oral tablets under the tongue) for certain FDA-approved allergens. Patients do not have to suffer from uncontrolled allergies; an allergist can pinpoint triggers and provide the best treatment options available.”
If you feel you are suffering from springtime allergies, contact Dr. Amin’s offices at:
Morris Hospital Allergy Specialists
27240 W. Saxony Drive
Phone: (815) 705-1300
105 Saravanos Drive
Phone: (815) 705-1300