Spring is here, and with it comes pollen, dust, and mold, the perfect recipe for spring allergies, not to mention chilly rain, winds, and fluctuating weather, which can create the perfect storm for colds. The symptoms of colds and allergies can be reasonably similar with sniffling noses, sore throats, and coughs, making it difficult to know if you’re, in fact suffering from a cold or an allergy attack. To differentiate between the two, let’s first talk about what exactly colds and allergies are.
A cold is a small being (virus) that enters your body and makes you sick. Once your body realizes that it’s been “infected,” the white blood cells launch a counter-attack, and so you get a cough or runny nose, or sore throat, etc., as your body fights off the virus.
Allergies, on the other hand, are caused by an overactive immune system vs. an active immune system. You encounter dust or pollen, food or animal hair, and your immune system “mistakes” them as germs and attacks them. Your body will send out the same counter-attack it does when fighting a cold and so you get similar symptoms, cough, runny nose, and sore throat, etc.
But while there are many similarities between the two, there are ways that you can distinguish them. While a cold usually only lasts around one to two weeks, allergies can bother you for months, so if you’ve been sneezing for the last three weeks, buckle in because it’s probably allergies. Allergies can also cause red itchy eyes, eczema, and intermittent sneezing (you sneeze when you’re outside, but not when you’re inside), which colds and cases of flu often don’t. On the other hand, if your head feels stuffy, if you’re running a low-grade fever, or if you have body aches, you’re most likely experiencing the common cold.
Either way, if you’re feeling lousy, check in with your Naturopath. They can not only tell you what is making you feel poorly but also supply you with a list of remedies to help you over the hump to better health.
Suffering from a cold or allergy right now? Please make an appointment with Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Maggie Fox, through the patient portal or call her at 425-615-6321.