Friday, August 14, 2015

Allergies or Common Cold?

The common cold is never fun, but seriously it's no picnic when you catch one during the hot and humid summer months.  During the Spring and Fall seasons I can always count on a runny nose, itchy and watering eyes, continual sneezing, and the ever consuming headache caused by allergies. That's just a fact of life for me and so many other allergy sufferers. When the pollen and mold spore levels increase so do the symptoms caused by these allergens. Allergic rhinitis, or better known as hay fever, is caused by an heightened immune response to pollen grains and other substances such as mold spores.The irritation begins during the Spring months when the trees, grasses and plants have awakened from their winter slumber and release their pollen. The counts are worse in the morning hours and on windy days. During the late summer and into the autumn season, pollen from ragweed is the major cause of sneezing and sniffling.

It's mid summer now and not really the time of year for my allergies to rev up, but somehow I suppose I've gotten a case of the common cold. The symptoms are similar with the usual nasal congestion, sneezing, and runny nose. The nasal discharge caused by allergies is typically thin and clear, while it often becomes yellowish or greenish in color with a simple cold. However, I'm not itching which is a plus! But on the downside, my throat is scratchy, my body aches, and I have a low grade fever. These additional symptoms are all associated with a cold and not those nasty allergens. According to, the common cold is the most frequent reoccurring sickness in the world.  It's also known as nasopharyngitis and is caused by a virus. The common cold will typically run its course in about a week to 10 days.  The virus does not respond to an antibiotic and there is no magical cure. So while you're suffering from the common cold here are five suggestions for relieving your discomfort:

1.  Get plenty of rest.

2.  Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

3.  Gargle with warm salt water to soothe and relieve the pain of a sore throat. The Mayo Clinic suggests 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water.

4.  Utilize over the counter medications such as decongestants to relieve nasal symptoms, throat lozenges and cough syrups to quiet the coughing spells. Do not, however, give throat lozenges or hard candies to children younger than 3 or 4 years of age to suck on as these can be a choking hazard. Use a throat spray such as Chloraseptic Kids Sore Throat Spray instead. Also, give Tylenol or Ibuprofen to reduce fever and body aches.  Be sure to read package labels regarding recommended medicinal dosages for infants, children, and adults.

5. Consult your physician for additional guidance and especially if symptoms persist.

Well it's time for more meds! Can't wait for the Fall allergy season to begin! NOT!

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