Is It a Common Cold or Allergies?
Reblogged from : http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/common-cold-or-allergy-symptomsfrom
You’ve got a runny nose, a cough, and congestion. So have you caught a cold or is it allergies? Unfortunately, it’s often hard to tell — even for doctors. But here’s information that may help. Read on to learn more about the causes and treatment of cold and allergy symptoms.
Natural Relief for Cold & Allergy Symptoms
What Are Colds and Allergies?
Colds are caused by hundreds of different viruses. When one of these viruses gets into your body, your immune system attacks. Some of the effects of this immune response are the classic symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and coughing.
The germs that cause colds are contagious. You can pick them up when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or shakes hands with you. After a couple of weeks, at the most, your immune system fights off the virus and you stop having symptoms.
Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless substances — such as mold or pollen — for germs and attacks them. Your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause swelling in your nasal passages, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Allergies are not contagious, although some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.
Differences Between Colds and Allergies
Although there are some differences, cold and allergy symptoms overlap quite a bit. The most important difference is that colds don’t last longer than 14 days. If you still have symptoms after two weeks, these may be allergy symptoms.
Prevention and Treatment of Colds and Allergies
Because the causes of cold and allergy symptoms are quite different, preventing them requires different strategies.
To prevent allergy symptoms, avoid substances you’re allergic to, called allergens. So if you’re allergic to pollen, for instance, avoid going outside on days when the pollen count is high. Here are common allergens:
- Animal dander
- Dust mites
To prevent cold symptoms, stop the cold-causing virus from getting into your system. Keep your distance from people who have colds. Wash your hands often. To protect others, always cover your mouth and nose (with a tissue or your sleeve, rather than your hands) when sneezing or coughing.