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Monday, May 2, 2011

Is it a cold or allergies

So you feel miserable. You have nasal congestion, and a downright horrible, uncomfortable feeling that has taken your energy and even your sense of humor away. Now you are wondering what you should do for it. The answer depends on whether you have a cold or allergies.

How do you tell the difference? According to, the answer can come from the answer to this question: Does it cause an itch. If your symptoms cause eye, nose and throat itchiness, then what you have is allergies, because a cold will never cause an itch.

An allergy is your bodies response to common allergens, such as dust mites, cock roach urine, molds, fungus, etc. A common cold is your bodies response to virus's that attack your body

Here are some common allergy symptoms:

1. Difficulty breathing through nose from mucus buildup and swelling of sinus tissue
2. Sneeze
3. Cough
4. Sore throat
5. Headache

Ehow has some tips on treating the common cold. Most colds go away in 3-7 days, yet some will last longer. There really isn't much we can do yet to get rid of a cold, which are generally caused by viruses. Usually we just treat the symptoms.

Some therapies involve drinking lots of fluid to help you moisten your mucus membranes so you can cough up the junk. Some scientific evidence shows that eating or drinking hot or spicy chicken noodle soup helps ease symptoms of sore throat and headache.

Nasal decongestants have been proven to actually trap bacteria, so it is recommended you do not take these unless you absolutely have to.

Flushing your sinuses with a nasal decongestant wash may help with your symptoms. You may also take an expectorant to help move secretions, and this works best if you are drinking lots of fluid, like 8-10 cups of water per day (which is something you should do anyway).

Gargling warm salt water can help ease the sore throat. Keep warm. Avoid other people, and there are a variety of other still not yet scientifically proven methods such as eating honey that may give some relief but do not necessarily get rid of the cold.

Here are some common allergy symptoms:

1. Itchy eyes, nose and throat
2. Sneezing
3. Sore throat
4. Runny or stuffy nose
5. Cough
6. Post Nasal drip

Allergies can be treated with nasal decongestants and antihistamines. Although, more recently, they can be treated with newer meds, and even prevented altogether, by taking leukotriene blockers like Singulair and Accolate. You can also take Zyrtec or Clariton to ease the symptoms. I find the combination of Singulair and Clariton work great to PREVENT allergies, and to treat them when they occur.

Actually, Singulair is more of a preventative medicine, and, when needed, especially around allergy season in the spring, that clariton can both prevent and treat allergies. This is neat, because before Clariton, there was nothing that could be done to prevent or treat allergy symptoms.

Another thing that can be done is to avoid your allergy triggers, such as dust mites and molds, etc. Yet this can often be hard to do, especially when you have to get outside in the spring, or if you work around things you are allergic to. Or if you're poor and don't have money to buy a new, allergy proof home.

So allergies are a lot easier to treat than the common cold symptoms, and the basic way to tell the difference is by noticing: Does it itch, or does it not to itch?

For more information, check out this link about deviated septums that can be caused from chronic nasal congestion due to allergies.

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