During the cold and flu season, it is quite evident to feel symptoms of a runny nose, an itchy throat, and watery eyes. But what if you feel all of this when the trees are blossoming and the leaves are falling? The question that we repeatedly ask is: Is this an allergy or a cold?
The best ENT specialist in Karachi says that it is often tricky for doctors even to distinguish between the two. Well, let me clear the air with some of the evident signs to help you differentiate between a cold and an allergy.
- Your Mucus is Clear
Bear with me if this is getting too gross. In the beginning, it is noticed that both cold and allergies cause clear mucus. But as the symptoms go on, if you have a cold the mucus turns yellow and green. On the other hand, the mucus in case of allergies stays clear and watery.
- Your Cough is Dry
Throat symptoms are usually more difficult to tell apart. If you have a cough that ends up making you spit out mucus (even if it’s clear). You lie in the cold arena. A lot of doctors suggest that the allergic cough is always dry . Allergies do cause irritation in the throat while in case of cold, sore throat is often experienced.
- Your Eyes are Itchy and Watery
A cold may cause redness around the eyes along with a feeling of discomfort. Along with that, your nose and throat also might feel itchy. However a cold usually does not affect the eyes. But if you have this constant complaint of itchy and watery eyes, this my friend is an allergy that you’re dealing with.
- Your Symptoms Linger
A cold will typically last for a good 4 to 5 days and then vanishes away slowly. It might also hang around for a week. But if you move away from the triggering source, be it pollen or someone’s pet and you instantly start to feel better. That is not at all a sign of cold, it clearly means you are suffering from an allergy.
- You Notice a Seasonal Pattern
If you’re a person who suffers from the same cold every March. It is a signal to reconsider. If you think that the same symptoms happen every fall or every spring. It is a clear indication of allergy. Sometimes people have bad pollen allergies in February, even when there’s still snow on the ground.
- You Don’t Get a Fever
When a person is suffering from a cold, it is very likely to spike a fever. But if you’re experiencing on and off chills that are making you feel cold, that is an allergy that you need to get treated for. The fever never really happens with allergies.
- You Get Out of Bed Easily
People suffering from a cold or fever usually complain about not being able to get out of bed. They feel this constant lethargy and laziness. While the allergies continue to make you feel low and run down, they never really cause fevers.
Treatment For The Allergies
In a lot of cases, over-the-counter medicine will do. Antihistamine and decongestant work better. You might want to switch to nasal steroid sprays, prescribed by your doctor if the allergies prolong.
It is very important for you to know your triggers. Avoiding them and managing them at the same time is the key here. By avoiding triggers, I am not suggesting you stay at home with that tissue box.
To get let exposure of the allergens;
- Use an air purifier in all cases
- Don’t open your windows often in the allergy season
- Limit the time you spend outdoors during allergy season
- Wear a dust mask to protect yourself
- Whenever you return home, take a shower. There’s a possibility of pollen being present on your clothes or hair.
- Check your local weather forecasts for pollen season updates.
If the above-mentioned points don’t help you find what you’ve been suffering from. Then visit your doctor and he’ll suggest you to an ENT Specialist. Cold and allergies often have the same symptoms but these could hinder your daily life activities, if not treated in timely.