An allergy is a heightened response from the immune system to a stimulant that is ordinarily harmless. Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance by producing antibodies. These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection, even if it isn’t. The trigger signals your immune system to release histamine and other chemicals, causing a range of allergic signs and symptoms called allergic reactions. Allergies are quite common, and for the most part, non-life threatening.
Typically during this time of year your allergies will be in full swing. As the weather warms and pollen, and many other allergens, fly around your allergies will begin to act up. As a chronic condition, you normally would not be too concerned about the effects of allergies. Symptoms of an allergy include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Breathing problems
- Watery eyes
- Swollen mucous membranes
- Gastrointestinal problems
With the recent concern around illness and flu, differentiating between a cold and an allergic flare up has become an issue. Despite the daily news, it’s important to keep in mind that it is allergy season and although some symptoms between an allergy, a cold, and the flu overlap– a runny nose might just be your regular, seasonal allergic reaction.
Here are some ways you can differentiate between the three:
If you begin to notice that your symptoms worsen the longer you are outside, that could be indicative of an allergic reaction instead of a flu. Additionally, if you think it may be a food allergy you can monitor the foods you are eating and track them in a food diary. Take note if on certain days, you feel better or worse depending on the food you ate. Monitoring if you condition worsens based on an area or other stimulus can help to determine if it is an allergy or a cold.
With dust and pollen allergies, these tend to localize as a respiratory issue. This is not the case with most colds and flu. Although they commonly affect your nasal pathways and lungs, additionally, you will also display bodily aches and pain. Some symptoms of a cold or flu include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
Although some symptoms between the two overlap, there is still a vast difference between a flu or cold and allergies. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of the flu, it is important to self isolate and monitor your symptoms.
If you think your symptoms might be something more than a regular allergic reaction, call our office at (770) 343-5616 today to book a telemedicine appointment.