2006-04-14 / Community

Spring Allergies Or Cold? Some Tell-Tale Tips

Most greet the arrival of warm weather with big smiles, but spring and summer for millions means seemingly endless months of watery eyes, itchy throats, sneezing and congestion due to seasonal allergies.

And many sufferers aren't even sure whether it's an allergy, or cold or flu.

The Visiting Nurse Regional Health Care System (VNR) offers the following tips to spell out the difference between an allergy and a cold- and if it's an allergy, to help reduce its severity.

"Spring is the time of year when we'd all prefer to grab our sunglasses and head to the park, not a box of tissues and head to bed," says Jane Gould, President and CEO of VNR.

"While these tips cannot replace a regular visit to the doctor or allergist, they can help people manage their symptoms better, and get more enjoyment this season."

Cold Or Allergy?

+ Itchy Eyes. Itchy and watery eyes are often associated with allergies. Rarely do those infected with a cold suffer from this symptom.

+ Fever. A fever is a good indicator that what you are experiencing is a cold. Fevers are almost never allergy related.

+ General Aches and Pains. This symptom is almost never associated with allergies. Individuals experiencing aches and pains are most likely fighting a cold.

+ Duration . Colds can last anywhere from three to fourteen days, while an allergy, especially one caused by ragweed or grass, can last weeks.

How To Reduce The Severity Of An Allergy

+ Speak to an allergist . The number one way to lessen the impact of an allergy is to visit a specialist. In addition to prescribing medications, an allergist can help you to identify the source of the allergy, allowing you to take preventative measures.

+ Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers. They can provide much needed relief during allergy season. These devices extract contaminates from the room and dry up damp areas that can potentially accumulate mold.

+ Take a shower after spending time outdoors. A quick shower can rinse away pollen and other pollutants that might be on your skin or in your hair.

+ Check the pollen count in your local area. There are many websites that can provide this information. On days when the count is extraordinarily high, limit the amount of time you spend outdoors.

For more information, visit the VNR website at www.vnrhcs.org.

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