Cold or Allergies?

By: Jessica Aspiras
By: Jessica Aspiras

During this time of year it's not uncommon to hear sneezing and coughing around the office or at home. That's because spring and allergy season go hand in hand. And according to Dr. Ridhu Burton, of the Allergy and Asthma Consultants of Mid-Michigan, signs of allergies are also symptoms of the common cold.

"You can have a runny nose, bouts of sneezing, itchy watery eyes, clear runny discharge, sometimes a scratchy, sore throat. With allergies the symptoms are often worse in the morning. With a cold, as you progress, in 3-5 days the discharge is more creamy, yellow, and green rather than clear and watery."

77-year-old Frank Badalamante suffers from allergies. When he started noticing symptoms a few years ago, he thought it was just a common cold that would go away. Six years later, he's still dealing with the same thing.

"My eyes water. I get drainage. I get a sore throat. You know they say life begins at 50. Well my life ended at 70 to be honest about it."

The only way he found out about his allergies was by seeking help. And Dr. Burton says that's the best advice.

"With a cold sometimes you nose will also be swollen inside. But it looks more red and angry than if you have allergies. So sometimes examining a person helps us decide.

Still if you're one of those people who hates going to the doctor there are other remedies.

"You know, use a nasal saline spray. Use a decongestant but no more than probably five days."

But be careful of what you take. Because it could do more damage in the end by drying you out so much it leads to something worse than an allergy or cold, and instead turning into a sinus infection.


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