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Are You Sick or Is It Just Allergies?

By Donna Stark

Well, here we are, going from one season of misery to the next. Trying to run away from the runny noses and sore throats that the cold and flu season brought, only to end up with even more runny noses and sore throats that the spring allergy season so graciously brings. It's hard to catch a break when we transition from one season to the next, isn't it?  But what is even harder than catching that break, is figuring out exactly what is causing your symptoms. Are you contagious and should you stay home or should you just keep an eye on the pollen count numbers and have your anti-histamine by your side?

Stay Home or Not?

Sometimes we unintentionally send our sick, contagious kids to school because we think their bodies are just fighting allergies, and other times, we keep our non-contagious kids at home because we think they are actually sick. Obviously, we can't leave the decision up to our children because they would choose to stay home either way, so we need to be able to discern the difference. But first, let's take a look at those symptoms that both conditions can share.

  • Sniffling
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Red eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Sinus congestion

What's the Difference?

That's a lot of symptoms to share and plenty of reasons to be confused, so let's talk about the differences between a cold and springtime allergies. Maybe these will help clear things up a bit.

  • Duration - If you have a cold, you will typically suffer for 7-10 days. In other words, it definitely has an ending point, an end that comes along quicker than what you would see with allergies because they typically hang around and cause you misery for weeks.
  • Onset - Symptoms for a cold usually come on gradually, over the course of a day or two while those for allergies come on much quicker, right after you come in contact with the allergen.
  • Extra symptoms - If you are experiencing aches, fever, and fatigue, you definitely should consider staying home with a box of tissues and the remote in your hand, but if you have itchy, watery eyes or eczema, there's a good chance that you are suffering from allergies instead of a cold.  

Making the Right Decision

Colds and allergies are completely different health conditions that need completely different forms of care. By learning the differences between the two, you can start to make the right decisions with treatments and your health. So don't suffer anymore! Turn these seasons of misery into seasons of victory and feel better soon!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lakewood, Calif.

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