Winter’s here again in Buffalo, NY, and that means that it’s cold and flu season. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether a bout of the sniffles means you’re suffering from your regular allergies or if you’ve finally caught that cold that’s been going around. However, if you don’t know which is which, you might end up taking the wrong treatment or over-medicating. Thankfully, all you need is a few simple tests to tell for sure whether it’s allergies vs. cold.

How are Allergies & Colds Different?

While colds and allergies may have similar symptoms, they’re not at all alike. Colds and flus are caused by viruses. If a virus enters your body and attacks enough of your cells, it will trigger an immune response in order to kill the foreign substance and prevent it from causing any further damage.

An allergic response is similar insofar as it involves the immune system; however, an allergen isn’t actually a harmful substance. An allergen, like animal dander, pollen, or peanuts, is a substance your body erroneously believes is dangerous.

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What Symptoms Should I Expect?

You can expect congestion, a runny nose, a post-nasal drip, and a cough whether you have an allergy or a cold. However, there are a few key symptoms that should clue you off. First of all, allergies never cause fevers.

Because an allergen doesn’t attack your body, it doesn’t take the body that long to destroy it, and therefore allergy attacks never last as long as colds or flus do. An allergy attack shouldn’t last more than a few hours where colds usually last up to a week.

Secondly, colds don’t cause itchy eyes. If your eyes are watering, you know for sure that you’re dealing with an allergy.

Allergies vs. Colds: How Should I Medicate?

There’s no shortage of effective cold and allergy medications available in the drug store today, but you have to be very careful when treating multiple symptoms. If you take a few different pills without properly comparing side effects and dosage requirements, you could really do some damage even if you’re only taking over-the-counter drugs.

Make sure, first and foremost, that you note the active ingredients. If you take two separate medications for two separate symptoms, but both of them contain acetaminophen, for example, you could be overdosing. In general, it’s better to err on the side of caution. If you’re not sure about the difference between allergies vs. colds, it’s better to not take anything at all. Of course, you can always consult your physician if you’re not sure.

Alternatively, there are always natural ways to medicate. Whether it’s a sinus headache or itchy eyes, you might not actually need a pill. Sometimes, nature’s own remedies are even more effective anyway, and they don’t come with as many negative side effects.

Last Thoughts: Allergies vs. Colds

Lastly, make sure that you go to see your local, Buffalo, NY ENT if symptoms don’t clear up after 2 weeks. If you’re still struggling with congestion, you may be suffering from another condition altogether.

Nosebleeds ~ the drippy (but not so dreadful) reality

Epistaxis, a condition commonly referred to as nosebleeds, occurs at the vascular area within the nose, which can bleed profusely as a result of facial trauma. The nose’s arterioles (tiny blood vessels) are vulnerably positioned and thus can easily rupture.

Approximately 60 percent of people experience epistaxis at some point in their life. Only 6 percent of those who suffer with nosebleeds tend to seek medical treatment, and even fewer require hospitalization.

Though epistaxis can occur at any age, it mostly has a bimodal distribution, afflicting toddlers to children age 10, as well as adults over 50. There are two types of nosebleeds – those that stem from the front of the nose (anterior) which are most common, and those that stem from the back of the nose (posterior) which are less common and more severe in nature.

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Winter’s here again in Buffalo, NY, and that means that it’s cold and flu season. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether a bout of the sniffles means you’re suffering from your regular allergies or if you’ve finally caught that cold that’s been going around. However, if you don’t know which is which, you might end up taking the wrong treatment or over-medicating.

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Is this just another case of the sniffles that some homemade chicken soup and a box of tissues can solve, or is it something else? You don’t want to confuse the common cold with a sinus infection. Searching for a “sinus doctor near me”? Hold on a second to see whether you need to contact a specialist or you’ll recover with just a bit of TLC.